Supported by the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund, Chicago Cinema Exchange: Mexico City presents stories of displacement by emerging filmmakers from the U.S. and Mexico. 

Full Spectrum Features, the Chicago-based non-profit committed to driving equity into the film industry, today announces Chicago Cinema Exchange: Mexico City, a screening series and filmmaker development program supported by the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund. In partnership with Permanencia Voluntaria Archivo Cinematografía in Tepoztlán, Mexico, the exchange presents virtual screening events, free and open to the public, alongside professional development programming for the selected filmmakers.

Join them live for the kick-off event of the Chicago Cinema Exchange: Mexico City through a virtual meet-and-greet, moderated by Rocío Santos (Domingos En Vocalo). The program will be streamed live on Facebook and here (registration required).

Originally intended to be a cross-border program taking place in both Chicago and Mexico City, the initiative was reimagined in recent months in response to the global pandemic. Now, the virtual screenings will take place from June 23 to July 9, presented free in free, week-long, on-demand programs with select scheduled livestream screenings and virtual Q&As with filmmakers. All of the films included in Chicago Cinema Exchange: Mexico City explore themes of displacement; the full schedule and program information are available online here: 

Participants will partake in a variety of professional development sessions and collaborations sessions with funders, producers, and distributors from both countries. Some of the guest speakers include Producer Trisha Ziff and representatives from the International Documentary Association (IDA), Chicken & Egg Pictures, and Cine Tonala. 

To tune into the series of on-demand and live stream screenings paired with weekly live filmmaker Q&As, register at:

Programmed by Raul Benitez (programmer, Full Spectrum Features), Viviana García Besne (programmer, Permanencia Voluntaria Archivo Cinematografía) and project managed by Lucia Palmarini, the complete list of selected films and filmmakers included in Chicago Cinema Exchange: Mexico City is below. Like all programs from Full Spectrum Features, the creators featured in the Exchange represent a diverse group of artists and voices. 

Sunday — a film by Pegah Pasalar Screens free, on demand June 23-28, 2020 — A young Iranian woman encounters different members of her family who all have immigrated as she remembers them on her 30th birthday. Inspired by magical realism, this short film creates moments of magic through a cinematic narrative. 

Pegah Pasalar (born in 1992) is an Iranian interdisciplinary artist currently based in Chicago. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Art University of Tehran majoring in cinema editing. She is a full-merit scholarship awardee at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she holds a master of fine arts in studio with an emphasis in film and video. The theme of her work is centred on the position of women in the family and society, social criticism of childhood and parenting, displacement and transitions. She reflects on these themes through different hybrid mediums and forms using a personal but holistic, poetic yet resonant way. Pegah is currently continuing to work on a series of short films, each titled after a day of the week. After completion of Sunday, Saturday and Monday, she is now developing Tuesday. Each of these works takes place over the course of one day and the main protagonist is always a woman with contemporary concerns. She has shown her works in multiple national and international festivals and venues such as: Athens International Film and video film festival, Onion City, Chicagoland shorts Vol. 6, Berlin Revolutionary Film Festival, Music Box Theatre, Gene Siskel Film Center, Logan Theater, and more. 

Mi edad, la tuya y la edad del mundo — a film by Fernanda Tovar Screens free, via live stream on June 25, 2020 at 6:30PM CST. — This is the story of a queen, her lands, her palace, and her love. 

Fernanda Tovar Fernanda was born on October 19, 1991 in Mexico City. She studied at the Facultad de filosofía y letras at the UNAM and the Escuela Activa de Fotografía. Later, she began her studies at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) with a specialty in direction. In 2018, she completed a Master’s Degree in Cinematography at the Escola Superior de Cinema I Audiovisuals de Catalunya (ESCAC) in Spain. From 2018 to 2019, she was a FONCA Jóvenes Creadores program fellow in the specialty of screenwriting. In 2020, she was part of Talents Guadalajara at the FICG. 

TITIXE — a film by Tania Hernández Velasco Screens free, on demand June 23-28, 2020. — A mourning tree, dancing sprouts, ghosts, stories and forgotten seeds. This is a Mexican family’s very last attempt to cultivate their land. 

Tania Hernández Velasco Velasco is a filmmaker and film programmer living in Mexico City, where she’s currently developing her second feature film. TITIXE, her first feature documentary in which she holds directing, editing, producing and photography credits, has been selected in more than 40 international film festivals and collected several awards. In 2019, she was selected as a Flaherty Seminar – Professional Development Fellow and received the Charles C. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award. She holds a BA in Film (Centro de Diseño, Cine y TV, Mexico City), as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Film Editing and a Masters in Creative Documentary (both from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona). 

Las Desaparecidas — a film by Astrid Dominguez Screens free, on demand June 30-July 5, 2020. — In the State of Mexico where violence against women has been normalised, a young mother will fight to get legal justice for the feminicide of her teenage daughter.

Astrid Dominguez Astrid is a director and producer originally from the state of Mexico. She began her career as an advertising director and directed over seventy commercials. In 2015, she was accepted into an MFA at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia, where she developed her graduation short film Las Desaparecidas (We Vanish). Astrid has based her work on topics related to the gender perspective and is currently developing her first feature film. 

La Mitad del Mundo — a film by Erika Valencia Screens free, on demand June 30-July 5, 2020. — The harrowing stories of young survivors of sex trafficking in Ecuador through a combination of live action and stop-motion animation. 

Erika Valenciana is a Chicago-based filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist and educator. 

Lulu en el Jardín — Jose Luis Benavides Screens free, on demand July 7-12, 2020. — A tenacious, Latina émigré narrates her forced institutionalization upon coming out as a teenage lesbian in 1970s Chicago. 

Jose Luis Benavides (b. 1986 Chicago, US) is a queer Latinx artist, filmmaker and educator. His work has been officially selected for various festivals including: Onion City, Chicago, US (2020); MSU Latinx Film Festival, Lansing, US (2020); Revolutions Per Minute Festival, Univ. of Mass. Boston, MA, US (2020); Istanbul International Film Festival, Istanbul, Turkey (2019); Mizna’s 14th Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, Minneapolis, MN, US (2019); CinHomo Muestra Internacional de Cine y Diversidad Sexual, Valladolid, ES (2019); Cadence Video Poetry Festival, Seattle, US (2019); and Collected Voices, Chicago, US (2018). 

Birders — a film by Otilla Padua Screens free, via live stream on July 9, 2020 at 6:30PM CST. — Bird watchers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border share their enthusiasm for protecting and preserving some of the world’s most beautiful bird species. 

Otilla Padua Mexican filmmaker. She studied architecture in Cambridge University and the Architectural Association, London. Her works include Tzolkin, Heaven mirrors everything and Three Voices. Three Voices won the Docs in Progress award from DocsMX and was later screened at SXSW, Ambulante, Morelia International Film Festival, DocsMX, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Documenta Madrid, Festival de Lima, FIDBA Buenos Aires and London MexFest. Otilia participated in the Berlinale Talents Doc Station (2011) and the Guadalajara Talents (2011). She has been a beneficiary of the Young Creator’s Program 2010 by the Ministry of Culture (CONACULTA), Film Creator’s Stimulus Program 2016 from the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE) to develop her first feature film, and the Sundance Documentary Fund (2018) for the development of the short documentary Birders produced by No Ficción for Netflix. 

ABOUT FULL SPECTRUM FEATURES Full Spectrum Features is a Chicago-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to achieving racial and social equity in the media arts by producing, exhibiting, and supporting the work of women, LGBTQ, and POC filmmakers.