Dedicada a mi comunidad: A free event in Spanish aims to invite the Latinx community to
Great Barrington’s Mahaiwe will host a free screening of “Dedicada a mi ex” on Thursday, October 21, followed by a chat with the director and the film’s stars. Photo: Filmafinity
GREATER BARRINGTON – As saturated as the Berkshires are with arts organizations, an equally impressive number of obstacles exist when it comes to making the region’s diverse fine and performing arts programming accessible to all. For the past three years, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center has partnered with Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) with the aim of connecting the Latin community with the Mahaiwe – and by extension, all arts organizations – in innovative ways.
This year, the non-profit joint venture received funding from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to form an advisory network to explore how to engage with the wider community. Their work to date will culminate with the screening of the film “Dedicada a mi ex” (With Love to my Ex) – a romantic comedy with English subtitles – on Thursday, October 21 at Mahaiwe; the 6 p.m. event is free and open to everyone.
“[Exploring] how to engage with the communityâ¦ and connect in a way The Mahaiwe couldn’t in the past [is the goal]”Melissa Canavan told The Edge, speaking on behalf of the 14-member Spanish Language Community Advisory Network (SCAN). The group, made up of people passionate about the arts – both artists themselves or mere fans – strives to influence a new level of programming, while identifying issues that all organizations need to consider, with the goal of making real connections and building trust. with the Latin community.
Enter Vladimir Soasti, who, in addition to being part of SCAN, seeks to promote culture and art in the Berkshires. He and his brother Marco, originally from Ecuador, have lived locally for 20 years and run Soasti Bros Productions. As filmmakers, they immediately jumped at the opportunity to help organize events so that the Latin community – and the community in general – could benefit from showing films in Spanish. Their experience shooting films in South America led to a fortuitous coincidence: the Soastis knew the director and several actors of “Dedicada a mi ex”, the Sony Pictures production that was to be screened at the Mahaiwe.
“Why not invite them over and see if they want to come?” Soasti said of his proposal to increase the free screening with a speech featuring the cast and crew. Delighted to have the chance to visit the Berkshires, four South Americans enthusiastically accepted the invitation and will arrive on Tuesday.
Producer, screenwriter and director of âDedicada a mi exâ, Jorge Ulloa has more than 80 million followers on his YouTube channel. He will be accompanied by actor Carlos AlcÃ¡ntara, considered one of the best Peruvian actors; actor Biassini Segura from Colombia; and Italian actress Erika Russo, who was part of “Enchufe.tv”. All four will participate in a question-and-answer session after the screening and will be available for photographs and autographs.
âWe have worked hard to organize events because we want to show culture, art, movies – as many events as possible – in the future,â Soasti said.
Considering the prohibitive cost of concert tickets and admission to the museum, this “is not something everyone can do, especially if they have a family,” Canavan said of the “pressure. financial “of certain artistic and cultural events. Add to that the barriers of transportation (common in the Berkshires) or arranging childcare for an adults-only outing, and “that whole cost really adds up.” There is also the current culture to consider: âEveryone works very hard and not always [prioritizing] it’s time to go see a show, âCanavan said of the inordinate responsibility placed on people with multiple jobs who don’t always have the luxury of meeting friends, having dinner and attending a show.
“Here is an opportunity to provide an experience for all those who have not felt welcome in these spaces – to which they deserve to have – to which they connect,” Canavan said, citing the lack of effort on the part of many organizations as another potential obstacle. âIt doesn’t feel good to be a second thought, and we have to be more intentional to make these groups feel a priority,â she said, beyond a particular show or only when the house is not cannot be fulfilled otherwise.
âCulturally, in the Latin community and for immigrants in general, the mindset is ‘work, work, work’,â said Soasti, âand sometimes we forget these wonderful things that happen, or we just don’t know not What things are happening. Soasti points to a strategy he started using to remedy this: having conversations, one-to-one, in order to get the word out.
Soasti recently had the opportunity to speak with the owner of a local construction company who, after learning about Thursday’s lineup at the Mahaiwe, not only booked 25 tickets for his workers, but also granted them one day off. âHe wanted them to take this opportunity with their families,â said Soasti, brimming with enthusiasm at the collective steps being taken to facilitate this programming.
The next step is to think even further off the beaten path and in the long term, which, as the only Soasti connections testify, demonstrates just how salient connections exist and are waiting to be materialized. âWe really want this to last for many years to come,â Canavan said.
Admission to Thursday’s event is free and open to the public; advance reservations are required by visiting The Mahaiwe Box Office. All COVID protocols – proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within 72 hours – will be required to attend (and this includes children). Masks will be compulsory in the theater.