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Film Series

From Zuretzako: Joaquin in his sheepwagon upon arriving in America.
From Zuretzako: Joaquin in his sheepwagon upon arriving in America.
Still frame courtesy of director Javi Zubizarreta
Basque Journeys: Stories in Film

Basque Journeys: Stories in Film is a free film series that chronicles three perspectives on the dynamic histories and cultures of the Basque Country and Basque diaspora. The films illuminate a diversity of Basque narratives, challenging visitors to explore complex issues of immigration, stereotypes, tradition, innovation, and identity.

We invite the public to engage with the rich cultural, social, and political stories of Basques worldwide, in anticipation of the 2016 Folklife Festival this summer. Each screening will include conversations with filmmakers, local Basque Americans, and scholars.

Part One

This program opens with an introduction to Basque Country and its diaspora. In the short drama Zuretzako (For You), we will explore the experiences of Basques immigrating to the United States in the 1950s through 1970s, and the conflict of leaving behind loved ones in order to provide for them. The iconic feature documentary Song of the Basques takes us to the Basque Country of today, revealing vibrant art, industry, food, drink, tradition, and creativity.

Filmmakers Javi Zubizarreta and Emily Lobsenz will present a Q&A following the screenings, discussing cinematography as expression, being Basque American, and the enchantment of innovation in tradition.

Part Two

After a brief introduction situating recent Basque history, we will present Asier ETA Biok (Asier and Me), a documentary-drama that recounts the story of two childhood friends from Basque Country. Aitor moves to Madrid and becomes a successful actor. Asier, long an antimilitary activist, ends up joining ETA, an armed Basque nationalist group. Through clever cinematography and humor, Aitor denounces violence as a political tool while exploring his conflicted relationship with Asier. In the process, Aitor casts a critical light onto the complex and deeply human process of reconciling his Basque and Spanish identities.

Following the screening, local Basque American Mark Bieter will lead a conversation with guest scholars and artists. They will challenge us to reflect upon our stereotypes, discuss representing identity through film, and explore freedom of cultural expression.

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