NBFF 2015: Los Olvidados Showcases Extraordinary Cardboard Mexicans

Los Olvidados
Los Olvidados
Courtesy of Ramiro Gomez, Jr.

Back in 2013, I reviewed Ramiro Gomez, Jr.'s extraordinary artwork that finds him either painting working-class Latinos into photos of ritzy homes, or has him put up cardboard cutouts of said trabajadores in ritzy communities. The star of the piece, though, was Los Olvidados, which depicted a group of migrants mourning the loss of one of their own who didn't survive the brutal journey across the U.S.-Mexico border. That installation took up an entire room of Cal State Fullerton's Grand Central Arts Center, and included was a panorama-sized photo of Los Olvidados in the Arizona desert.

That particular installation got a short film made about it, and it'll screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival twice this week.

Directed by Gomez's partner, David Felman, Los Olvidados/The Forgotten lasts only 13 minutes but makes the most of its short length We see Gomez's inspiration to start his art series, the thinking behind Los Olvidados, his car trip to Arizona to find the perfect spot to place his work, and the actual staging. The most poignant part of the film is while Gomez searches for a picturesque setting: he finds an abandoned backpack and tearfully wonders about the fate of its owner. It's everything an art short should be: informative, beautiful, touching, and inspiring the viewer to follow the artist immediately.

"One of the most fascinating aspects of our film screenings has been the overall, positive reaction from audience members, including conservative viewers, who've approached me several times afterwards to say how moved they were by the film," Feldman tells the Weekly. "They add that Ramiro's work and the film, gave them a new insight to the immigration debate which they never considered, and then reflect on the migrant journey their family undertook in order to get to the US."

Here's the trailer:

Screening times will be TODAY at 5pm at the Big Newport (with Gomez and Feldman participating in a panel afterwards), and Thursday at 4:15pm at the Island Cinema. Buy your tickets here, and GO GO GO!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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