Include this in your OC Pride celebrations this weekend: a screening of director Raul Fuentes' film Todo El Mundo Tiene A Alguien Menos Yo (Everybody's Got Somebody But Me), a film that deals with a torrid romance between a 30-something book editor named Alejandra and a free-spirited teen named Maria. It will be showing this Saturday at the Yost theater, followed by a Q&A with the director.
The film created quite the uproar when Dr. Cony Martinez, professor and Director of Programming at the Riverside International Film Festival included the film in this year's RIFF official selection in April. Other board members of RIFF were appalled by the film's inclusion, specifically the members of the Cal Baptist University who were sponsoring the festival. In response, Dr. Martinez created Cinemas Culturas, a forum for dialogue on such matters as race, gender and immigration and other issues Latinos face through cinema.
The schedule was set, the festival was underway, and Dr. Martinez was pleased with her work, she recalls, as she spent many sleepless nights planning for RIFF. It was her first year as Director of Programming for the festival, after serving on the board for three years. Among the other feature films in the schedule were college shorts, experimental shorts from CalArts, high school films, and documentaries, even a film starring Herculean hunk Kevin Sorbo, with the added bonus of his appearance.
Dr. Martinez remembers sipping her morning coffee when she read the email from the Dean at Cal Baptist University Mark Roberson on his disgust of finding out the film Everybody's Got Somebody But Me, an LGBT film, was included in the program. Even though the schedule for 2013's festival had been up online and accessible for days, no one had made mention of it or objected to it, and now the proper accommodations for theater screenings had been set. Roberson's concluded that the film needed to be removed from the schedule, otherwise he was unsure about the reaction from the rest of the board members at CBU, who had already marketed the festival and invested over $3000 into it.
With a heavy heart, Dr. Martinez called the theater hosting the film and explained the entire situation, and asked to move the film to the farthest end of the theater house so that no CBU types would pass by and see anything they would be uncomfortable with. The request was made in response to a specific comment in Roberson's email that the film would offend Cal Baptist members is they happened to walk by and look into the theater screen. But she was adamant not to remove the film. For one, she had worked hard to get the film from the Mexican Institute of Cinematography, and removing it altogether would harm her relationship with the Institute. It would also be an affront to the gay community.
"What kind of message would it send to someone gay or lesbian that this film was not going to be screened? We have to be inclusive of everyone's voices and experiences here," she says.
Now that the new accommodations were in place, Dr. Martinez informed everyone on the board that the change was made, and let loose her aggravations with miscommunication, catering to Cal Baptist's demands, and granting requests of other board members to include all of the films they wanted in RIFF. She concluded the email with her resignation.
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All that happened in April. Since then, Dr. Martinez has created Cinemas Culturas, a film component to her Dialogos Americas forum that creates exchanges of dialogue on issues such as women's rights, LGBT rights, immigration, transformations and other issues in the Latino community. Cinemas Culturas will be presenting the film screening of Everybody's Got Someone But Me at the Yost on Saturday, with director Fuentes in tow.
"It's such a beautiful film," Dr. Martinez says, "it's relatable on a universal scale, its a beautiful love story."
Todo El Mundo Tiene A Alguien Menos Yo (Everybody's Got Somebody But Me) at Yost Theater 307 N. Spurgeon St. Santa Ana. (888) 862-9573 yosttheater.com 7pm $10.