(Nov. 4, 2011) -- UTSA will host two screenings of "As Long As I Remember: American Veteranos," a documentary by nationally recognized San Antonio filmmaker Laura Varela. The UTSA Mexican American Studies/Community Colloquium will host a reception followed by the film screening at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9 in the Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (1.328) at the Downtown Campus. A question-and-answer session will follow. The event is free and open to the public. An encore screening is set for 1 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10 in Buena Vista Street Building Room 2.304.
Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, Varela's documentary on Chicanos' experiences during the Vietnam War, aired on PBS stations across the country. The film examines the steep personal toll and enduring legacy of the war on three artists from South Texas: visual artist Juan Farias, author Michael Rodriguez and actor-poet Eduardo Garza. Through the personal histories and experiences of these Chicano veterans, the film explores the role of art in the sorting of memories, post-traumatic stress discorder and activism.
The film chronicles their upbringing in the Mexican American commmunity, their war experiences and their lives afterward. Their accounts illuminate the minority experience in the military at a time when Mexican Americans accounted for approximately 20 percent of U.S. casualties in Vietnam while comprising only 10 percent of the country's population.
Varela's activism and work with the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and support from the Humanities Texas Funding and Latino Public Broadcasting moved American Public Media to air the vital documentary. While documentary films are growing in popularity, recognition of Varela's work and the development of documentaries from a Chicana/o perspective are relatively rare.
According to Varela, her primary goal was to have the film shown on PBS so national audiences could better understand the Mexican American experience. Before the national airing, the film was presented at veterans centers and for veterans groups. She hopes the documentary will be used as an educational resource for universities and high schools in discussions about Chicanos in the military, art and PTSD.
Varela has received a great response including many personal letters such as one from a veteran who said the film "filled a hole that couldn't be healed." Additionally, letters from the children of Vietnam veterans who felt alone in their experiences expressed having a fuller historical understanding of the era.
The UTSA screenings are sponsored by the UTSA Mexican American Studies, College of Education and Human Development Consortium for Social Transformation, Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, Department of History, American Studies and Office of Student Activities. The screenings support UTSA's strategic initiative to serve the public by offering programs that expand the community's awareness of Mexican American history through the visual and cultural arts.
For more information, contact Marie Miranda, UTSA director of Mexican American studies, at 210-458-2675.
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As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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