Full disclosure: The author of this story, Carla Suggs, is a student in this documentary-making class.
On Friday, Dec. 14, the Reynolds School of Journalism’s documentary-making class will be presenting their films for public viewing at the Wells Fargo Auditorium in the Knowledge Center. Taught by Kari Barber, the class consists of five student groups creating documentaries between 15 and 25 minutes.
One film, “Más Que Pan”, focuses on a man named Fausto who owns a Guatemalan bakery in Reno. Having once been a successful baker in Guatemala, two of Fausto’s sons were murdered and the rest of his family was forced to escape to the United States. “Más Que Pan” focuses on Fausto and his family’s story, as well as the connection between food and culture.
One of the group members, Bailey MeCey, commented on his experience working on the film for Kari’s class.
“It’s been a real delight having an option to work on a large production and getting to use advanced equipment,” he said. “I’m really proud of the work we’ve done to share the story of Fausto, and his hardships and triumphs over his life.”
Another film, “La Reyna”, follows a Mexican-American drag queen named Jorgie Silvia, who goes by the stage name Ariana Dulce. The documentary also dives into the dynamic between Silvia’s work and home life, which can be complicated since, in Mexican culture, drag is not openly acknowledged by those not in the gay community.
A third documentary, titled “Goodbye Chinatown”, explores a Chinatown in Reno that developed on the crossroads of Virginia and First streets in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1908, Reno’s Chinatown was burned down and destroyed by Renoites who despised the growing Chinese presence in town. Despite this demolition, some parts of the now-ancient Chinatown still remain.
Another documentary student and member of the “Goodbye Chinatown” group, Paolo Zialcita, also comments on his time creating the documentary over fall semester.
“Our experience making it was difficult because we were building a documentary based on events 50 to 100 years ago,” he said. “That’s not even considering the fact that these events have essentially been erased from history books. We’re hoping that our documentary will teach people something they didn’t know about their city.”
The final documentary, “The Anarchists’ Picnic”, is centered on an anarchist group in Reno called Food Not Bombs, which hosts weekly potlucks with the homeless in Fisherman Park. The film local government action against homelessness, criticizing where they lack mobilization and where Food Not Bombs steps in.
Students spent the first part of the semester filming and following their subjects, and the second part of the semester putting their documentaries together. Each group has put in hours and hours of work to make their final products presentable to both their subjects and the general public.
Folks interested in attending the film festival should arrive at the Wells Fargo Auditorium in the Knowledge Center between 6:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. The festival will begin at 6:30 p.m.