Oppenheimer Park Film Program: By Juan Manuel Sepúlveda
Every Tuesday at 2pm, in the field house of the Oppenheimer Park, documentary and experimental films are screened, followed by a group conversation. The intention is to create a space where everyone can enjoy a beautiful and politically valuable film and share their experience in a critical way. We have had twelve screenings, and we expect to continue the program during the spring and the summer.
I’m a filmmaker from Mexico now living in Vancouver and doing a Master in Fine Arts at Simon Fraser University. My films deal with events or situations that deeply affect me. I have been making documentaries since 2005, when I directed “Under the Ground” about the harsh working conditions of the miners of my hometown of Pachuca. I also made “The Infinite Border”, about Central American migrants who go through Mexico on their way to the USA, and “Lessons for a War”, about the resistance of the Ixil people in Guatemala against displacement.
I believe cinema has the possibility to bring our deepest memories and longing desires to the present moment. Their expression is constantly repressed by the arbitrary way the world is constructed through the tyranny of economic relations.
Knowing that the park is an important gathering point and a sacred space for many diverse communities that have been displaced, I started talking with some of the residents about creating a film there. Not a film about them, but rather a film with them. The film will not try to change the life of anyone. It will be not based on rewards, nor on conditions that the participants change habits such as drug-use or alcohol consumption.
The main goal is just to create a film, in an egalitarian space that allows the direct and creative participation of all involved. We will address the deepest concerns and hopes of the people involved using an aesthetically powerful form.
My intent is to bring the expertise of a group of film technicians to portray the memories and desires of the participants, challenging the order of things and creating a socially valuable film.
We expect to start filming this summer. All residents of the DTES, regardless of their habits and ways of surviving, are more than welcome to participate in the film project and to join the weekly screenings. For more information about me and my work, please visit: www.fraguacine.com