Ambulante Flm Festival presented by USC Visions and Voices


Ambulante Film Festival, Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative – Saturday, September 24, 2011 – Sunday, September 25, 2011 : 7:00pm. Admission is free. Reservations required. To RSVP go to
RSVP by clicking USC students, staff and faculty or general public.

In L.A. for the first time, this groundbreaking festival features provocative documentaries that are socially or cinematically relevant. Join actor, producer and director Diego Luna as the international documentary film festival Ambulante comes to Los Angeles. Luna, who starred in such films as “Y Tu Mama Tambien”, “Milk”, “The Terminal” and “Frida”, co-founded Ambulante in 2005 with Gael Garcia Bernal and Pablo Cruz.

Ambulante is a nonprofit organization focused on producing, distributing and exhibiting documentaries in Mexico. Each year, the Ambulante organization, in collaboration with Canana, Cinepolis and the Morelia International Film Festival, organizes a touring film festival that brings more than 70 documentaries to nearly 200 venues across 12 states in Mexico. By traveling with these works, sharing them in different cities and towns, and bringing communities together, Ambulante fosters a critical vision, generating a collective consciousness about how we perceive and understand our realities.  It creates a space to exhibit ground-breaking documentaries, both current and classic, that we consider socially or cinematically relevant.  Since 2007, AMBULANTE has brought a selection of Mexican documentaries to over 12 countries in partnership with different festivals, venues, and institutions.

Saturday, September 24
5 p.m. Welcome by Diego Luna and Screening of “The Two Escobars”
Directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, Colombia and United States, 100 minutes
Followed by a discussion with filmmaker Michael Zimbalist

7:30 p.m. Reception

8:30 p.m. “Benda Bilili!” (Beyond Appearances)
Directed by Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye, France, 2010, 84 minutes
Followed by a discussion with Florent de La Tullaye

Sunday, September 25
5 p.m. Documentaries Without Borders
Join us for a conversation featuring actor and Ambulante co-founder Diego Luna, filmmakers Lucas Marcheggiano and Jeff Zimbalist, and USC Annenberg School Professor Josh Kun, about the role of documentaries in bringing communities together and creating international awareness.

6 p.m. Reception
Please note that the reception will be open to attendees of Documentaries Without Borders only.

6:45 p.m. “El Ambulante” (The Peddler)
Directed by Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich, Argentina, 2009, 84 minutes
Followed by a discussion with filmmaker Lucas Marcheggiano

9 p.m. “El Lugar Mas Pequeno” (The Tiniest Place)
Directed by Tatiana Huezo, Mexico, 2011, 104 minutes

“Benda Bilili!”(Beyond Appearances)
Ricky has a dream: to make Staff Benda Bilili the best band in Kinshasa, Congo. Roger, a street child, wants to join these stars of the ghetto, who get around in customized tricycles due to a physical disability. Together, they must avoid the pitfalls of the street, stay united and find hope in the music. From the first rehearsals five years before to their triumph in international festivals, Benda Bilili! is the story of a dream come true.

“El Lugar Mas Pequeno” (The Tiniest Place)
To walk into the jungle-shrouded village of Cinquera, El Salvador, is to enter a world where ghosts walk, passing back and forth between the past and present. Here, decades after a brutal civil war annihilated the village, survivors return to bury their dead and rebuild the community from the ashes. During the 1980–92 civil war, Cinquera was literally wiped off of the map, disappearing temporarily from official charts in a conflict that resulted in 80,000 deaths and tens of thousands of disappearances. Now sowing new seeds in the devastated village, survivors recall horrifying ordeals of rape, mutilation, torture and the resulting madness. A remarkable example of Mexico’s burgeoning documentary scene, El Lugar Mas Pequeno guides us through this landscape with a contemplative, poetic eye, as the deep forest looms in mute witness to the testimonies we overhear. Battle scars and wounds may run deep, but they prove unable to destroy the soul of Cinquera.

“El Ambulante “(The Peddler)
Driving his dilapidated car, a man arrives at a small village. He proposes to the village authorities that he make a feature film with the village people, including the authorities themselves, as main characters. In return, the traveler only asks for lodging and meals until the film’s release, 30 days later. The offer is accepted and for the next month, the small town lives by the rhythm set by the lonely filmmaker.

“The Two Escobars”
While rival drug cartels warred in the streets and Colombia’s murder rate climbed to the highest in the world, the Colombian national soccer team set out to blaze a new image for the country. What followed was a mysteriously rapid rise to glory, as the team catapulted out of decades of obscurity to become one of the best teams in the world. Central to this success were two men named Escobar: Andres, the captain and poster child of the national team, and Pablo, the infamous drug baron who pioneered the phenomenon known in the underworld as “narco-soccer.”

Co-sponsored by the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the Latina/o Student Assembly.

Visions and Voices is a university-wide arts and humanities initiative, unparalleled in higher education. Established in fall 2006 by President C. L. Max Nikias, during his tenure as provost, Visions and Voices fulfills the goals set forth in USC’s strategic plan; communicates USC’s core values to students; and affirms the human spirit.

Highlighting USC’s excellence in the arts and humanities, the initiative provides an inspiring, provocative experience for all USC students, regardless of their major or class level, and challenges them to expand their perspectives and become world-class citizens who will make a positive impact throughout the world.

Emphasizing the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary approaches, the initiative features a spectacular array of events conceived and organized by faculty and schools throughout the university. With presentations by critically acclaimed artists and distinguished speakers, the series features theatrical productions, music and dance performances, film screenings, lectures and workshops.

University Park Campus
USC School of Cinematic Arts Building
Ray Stark Family Theatre, Room 108
Admission is free. Reservations required.


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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