This winter, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presented a series of films by award-winning and emerging Latin American, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ filmmakers who approach their subjects through the eye of the “other” with curiosity, empathy, and respect. Curated by Vanessa Perez and Alfredo Achar ’21 the “I Am…” series aims to celebrate cultural diversity and emerging filmmakers, while showing we are all interconnected.
Achar worked alongside Perez to co-curate the short selection and he moderated the conversation with the filmmakers of “Finding Liberation in Art with Sebastian Hernandez” (Jazmin Garcia), “In-Transit”, “CAUTION” (Maria Adela Diaz), “We are Here” (Constanza and Doménica Castro), “Starf*uckers” (Antonio Marziale) and “Bestia” (Hugo Covarrubias). Below we learned how he became involved in the project, his time at LMU, and what’s next.
On how the opportunity to curate came to be and the film selection process
Achar’s goal first and foremost was to give filmmakers a platform to share their work and their stories. This motivated him to look for the perfect lineup of filmmakers who managed to distinctively portray, direct, perform, write, and communicate their story and lived experience through film. In developing the event, Perez and Achar brainstormed, watched festival shorts, and reached out to filmmakers to develop a program that celebrated Latin American, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ filmmakers. The two decided that Achar would moderate the Q&A with all the filmmakers, both virtually and at an intimate in-person event, due to his extensive experience in the field and in film analysis.
Achar enjoyed how each filmmaker had a different vision, but together the films came together like a piece in a puzzle when creating the short film series. Each film added its own value, and he appreciates that beautiful art can come from trauma, tragedy, and injustice. Achar hopes viewers will learn through these films that being your truest self can be powerful, and film can challenge, question, change minds, and give hope.
Achar’s experience in the Film, TV and Media Studies major
Before joining the major, Achar took “Art of Cinema” and “Art of Screen Media” both with Professor Robert Simmons. During and after taking these classes he felt an entire world of knowledge and possibility open up to him. These classes, in particular “Art of Screen Media”, challenged Achar to dissect complex theory and apply it to the media the class studied. Ultimately a passion was born, and when Achar spoke to Associate Dean Carla Marcantonio about joining the major, he instantly felt assured that he was exactly where he needed to be.
Achar loved that the major gave him the gift of developing a sensibility for internal questioning and deep thought, even beyond film. Always an observer at heart, his critical eye for film and TV was developed during his time in Film, TV and Media Studies as the major gave him the chance to discuss, explore and study new films with a different lens. He attributes his educational, artistical and personal formation during his time at LMU to his great professors.
Post-graduation and what’s next
During the COVID pandemic, Achar applied what he learned at SFTV to teach a film analysis course “Educando el Ojo” (In English “Educating the Eye”) to people 18+ across Latin America. What started as a passion project snowballed and lead to Achar giving over 100 lectures. He has also spoken with the Panamanian Association of Psychoanalysis doctorate students in preparation for their final thesis.
After his first edition of The GuadaLAjara Film Festival wrapped, Achar began working at Block-Korenbrot Public Relations. He has also been freelancing in production for awards shows for E! Entertainment, is in pre-production of two shorts he is producing, and co-hosts and co-produces a podcast called “Culture Tasters”. Lastly, he has begun pre-production for the next edition of the GuadaLAjara Film Festival.
Achar hopes to continue providing filmmakers with the means and platform to share their stories, whether that means producing, curating programs, or working in festival and PR strategies for films. He’s enjoying his current path and is excited to see where the future takes him, including directing a short film passion project that he’s currently writing.