The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Central American filmmaker screens first work on campus

CSUN students gathered on Thursday, Sept. 18 to meet the director of ‘El Camino’ (The Path), a film from the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival.

The film documents the story of two siblings, a sister and a mute younger brother, trying to get from Nicaragua to Costa Rica in search of their mother. Throughout the film the siblings experience incest, dangers and sexual exploitation.

‘It’s impressive,’ Central American United Student Association member Josue Guajan said.

‘El Camino’ is the first cinematographic film made by a Central American woman, Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez, with a 35 mm camera, Guajan said. Gutierrez directed and produced the film, which is set through a child’s perspective.

‘I was a child when I was forced to leave my country,’ Gutierrez said. ‘An artistic reality is nurtured both from reality and our own experience that we live.’

Gutierrez blended her childhood life with enduring children’s lives in Nicaragua to bring up modern, global, social problems in her film.

‘The whole film in general was very memorable,’ CAUSA member Nelson Lemus said. ‘It’s a topic that deals with issues around the world.’

‘It opened up my eyes’mdash;that immigration isn’t just here, it’s around the world,’ said Guajan.

Gutierrez has a lot of experience and knowledge about global immigration. She was born in Moscow to an Iraqi father and a Chilean-Costa Rican mother. She has moved from Russia to Chile and to Costa Rica throughout her childhood life.

‘When I was five years old my family had to go in exile from Chile to Costa Rica. We had to escape from Costa Rica and leave everything behind,’ Gutierrez said. ‘And throughout a long period of time we didn’t have a table and had to eat over a trunk.’

She said her reason for the film is to invoke awareness about such global issues.

‘It is us who can change the reality,’ Gutierrez said.

During the six years it took her to make the film, she said she met many children who have not seen their parents in years because they left the country to another for a better economic opportunity.

‘Children are the most vulnerable’mdash;little girls are the most vulnerable,’ Gutierrez said. ‘I was profoundly moved when I met some of these children, especially one little girl who had spent seven years without seeing her mother.’

Gutierrez said that the artistic opportunity has granted her the chance to promote the serious issues at hand in Costa Rica. The border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica is dangerous even though Costa Rica doesn’t have a military, she said. At this moment, she said, delinquency is high and there has been a growing rate of sexual tourism for minors.

Gutierrez added that the majority of those kids that are sexually exploited have been abused in their own family, and that she believes it is a vicious cycle.

‘I am not a representative of Costa Rica tourism and for me, artists have the responsibility to represent what is happening in reality,’ Gutierrez said. ‘We have just been able to sell the distribution rights for the film in India and Afghanistan, which proves to me that it is a fact that (child sexual exploitation is) an issue that has meaning everywhere around the world. It has resonance in other places.’

The Central American Studies program, The College of Humanities Academic Programming Fund and CAUSA sponsored the event. Guajan said members of CAUSA saw the film Sunday with their advisor Beatriz Cortez, Central American Studies professor. She was able to schedule the director for a Thursday presentation.

‘It was done pretty quickly,’ Guajan said.

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