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Friday, September 29, 2023


International Film Festival celebrates culture, diversity

The International Film Festival will be held from March 1 to March 3. | Courtesy of The International Students Organization

The International Students Organization is hosting their second annual International Film Festival, which will screen 11 films from around the world this Wednesday at the Student Center South.

The idea of the festival is to expose the University’s community to entertainment that represents different countries and cultures. Films from countries including Colombia, Pakistan, Russia and Brazil will be featured at the festival.

“ISO’s mission is to provide resources for international students where they can expose their cultures and learn from other ones,” said Viviana Linares, the president of the International Students Organization and an industrial engineering junior. “The idea of the film festival is to have a free event where people can actually experience foreign movies in their own languages — these movies will have subtitles — but it’s basically just exposing some of the diversity that we have on campus to all of the UH community.”

Linares said that the ISO tries to choose movies that represent each continent and are from countries that cover a large area of the world.

Before the screening of the movies begins, there will be an opening ceremony with musical performances, dancing and a mariachi band at 2 p.m. in the Houston Room.

Nazir Pandor, the vice president of the ISO and an economics senior, said that the musical and dancing performances will be from international students. He said there will be special guests attending the reception, such as consulates from different countries and University faculty.

“We’re just trying to bring out international students to show the University that this is a big population,” Pandor said. “And we want you to come and celebrate with us, to see our culture, so that we can all have a dialogue.”

Mariel Yebra, the marketing director for ISO and an industrial design senior, said she is hoping the students can see the different styles each country provides in their films.

“Ideally what we’re trying to do with the film festival is to reflect all the different techniques and all the styles from other cultures,” Yebra said. “So you can have comedy, drama or horror, and it’s going to be completely different than what we see here in the U.S.”

The International Film Festival will open with the “Embrace of the Serpent” from Colombia. There will be three films screening for the first day and four films on each of the final two days. The entire list of films and trailers can be found on ISO’s Facebook page.

There will be free snacks provided at the festival, including foods from around the world. Students will have free admission.

It will run from March 1 to March 3. The first screening will be at 4 p.m. in the Houston Room.

“It’s the celebration of international film so that the international student body can feel at home,” Pandor said. “So that they can watch films from their countries, and also for the students who are not from there to see the culture, to see how diverse another country is, to see how they are and how they interact. I think we’re all very familiar with U.S. films, so why not have international films to get a little taste of diversity and culture on campus?”

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