From March 1 to March 3, Richmond's Film Studies program hosted "Latin America in the Movies," a three-day film festival on feature and documentary films from various countries throughout Europe, North America and South America.

The film festival, initiated by Claudia Ferman, associate professor of Spanish and Film Studies, is part of this semester's ongoing Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Film. When the film studies program was awarded the Tucker-Boatwright Fund last year, Ferman saw the perfect opportunity to bring a Latin American film festival to Richmond, she said.

In addition to her career at Richmond, Ferman has directed a film festival for the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) since 2004. She has always wanted to bring the films from the LASA Film Festival to Richmond, but there wasn't any funding.

During the past year, Ferman planned the festival with Abigail Cheever, film studies program coordinator, and Paul Porterfield, head of the Media Resource Center. In addition to the 16 films presented, the festival featured a variety of guest critics and specialists, including filmmakers Rodrigo Dorfman and Camilo Perez, whom Ferman had met through LASA, she said.

During the weekend, Ferman's students were given the opportunity to discuss the films with directors and introduce guest speakers, she said.

"I love that students were involved in the festival," Ferman said. "I totally believe in action and practice. The festival was an interactive opportunity for students, so hopefully they learned from it."

Junior Marissa Armentano, who is currently taking Ferman's Introduction to Latin American Cinema, introduced Mary Finley-Brook to present the festival's first film, "Tumaco Pacifico."

Although Armentano was nervous about speaking at the festival, she was glad Ferman involved her class in various activities throughout the weekend, including a Q-and-A with Dorfman, she said.

In addition to "Latin America in the Movies," Richmond hosts various international film screenings throughout the year, Porterfield said. Richmond hosts an African Film Weekend in the fall and "ChinaFest," a weekend of films from Thailand, China and Hong Kong, each spring, he said.

Although the Latin American Film Festival has already taken place, the Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Film will be hosting various programs throughout the remainder of the semester, Porterfield said.

March 21, the festival will present a panel discussion about French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier. Guest speaker Justus Nieland will make a presentation about Director David Lynch on March 27; film specialist Richard Allen will discuss Alfred Hitchcock on April 15; and Ana Lopez will speak about Latin American film media, television and pop culture in "Film and Culture in Cuba Today" on April 17.

"I hope students realize how lucky they are to have such a high-quality opportunity on campus," Ferman said.

All of the Festival's programs are free. For more information about the Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Film, visit its website via www.filmstudies.richmond.edu.

Contact reporter Gaby Calabrese at gaby.calabrese@richmond.edu