Esteban Powell, filmmaker of the short film Vela showing at the Aron on Thurs., Oct. 5, for the Northumberland Hispanic Film Festival.
Celebrating the Northumberland Hispanic Film Festival
Interviews with the Filmmaker as well as the Festival Event Organizer
Article by Sue Dickens/Images submitted
Campbellford – Tues., Oct. 3, 2023 – Exposing theatregoers to different cultures and genres are two of the reasons The Aron is participating in the Northumberland Hispanic Film Festival.
One of the films, Vela, is the work of writer and filmmaker Esteban Powell, who is from Mexico and whose mother Ixchel Suarez owns the Oak Heights Art Gallery near Warkworth.
He is currently living in Scarborough where he is continuing with his career as a filmmaker.
Esteban plans on being at The Aron for the showing of his film, on Thurs., Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., a pay what you can event. He plans to be on stage for the Q & A which will take place before the showing of the second film of the evening, Chinese Take-Away.
Vela is an immigrant story weaving a Mexican folk tale with family drama and horror elements. This is just one of many films Esteban has created.
“We are very excited to be showing at the Hispanic Film Festival of the cultural club of Northumberland,” he told Trent Hills Now in a telephone interview.
“Vela was the thesis production for our Toronto University film program,” he explained. The film has been shown in Korea and in Mexico City as well as in Texas.
“We started the script in the summer of 2022 and preproduction with the pitching process was in the fall. Early winter is when everything happened, preproduction, casting, crew rehearsals, lots of rehearsal and then the majority of the film was shot in February…filming the opening scene in March,” he said.
“We filmed in Vaughan and then also Scarborough,” he added.
“I have written a lot of stories processing my grief from the past few years, different iterations or stages of it, and this one I wanted to make a more positive outlook…and with that came a short remembering of my earliest memories, stories that my mom used to tell me, folktales from Mexican culture of how we have to look at death differently, how we have to kind of embrace it as a figure as you’ll see in the film, how it’s something not to be afraid of and how by engaging with death as a concept and embracing it emotionally, you know, not avoiding it with fear, it actually enables us to be our fuller selves and to fully be present with our loved ones.”
The description of the film given by The Aron says it melds the horror genre to portray the spectrum of emotional weight that impacts the young protagonist Xime. She tries to restore her family with a Day of the Dead altar, with a looming presence closing in.
Bringing his film to The Aron was a natural step for Esteban. “My mom is fairly involved in there (in the Northumberland Hispanic Club) … and I had heard of the wonderful stuff about the festival…it is a great opportunity to showcase part of this Latin story, which is revolving around death.”
During the interview we talked about his films and career and the future.
“Right now I’m starting to kind of get ideas to write some next projects so I’m going to go back to writing this month,” he said.
What the future holds for Esteban has yet to be seen but judging by his past accomplishments it should be very exciting.
If you want to get to know him better then watch his short film and meet him at the Q & Q at The Aron.
Northumberland Hispanic Cultural Club
The next person I interviewed is Fabián Arciniegas, who helped organize events for the Northumberland Hispanic Cultural Club for the festival. He joined the club around 2015.
Northumberland County Council has officially proclaimed the month of October as Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate the culture and its heritage.
Trent Hills Now is publishing a second article with a media release from the club about the events taking place.
September 15 to October 15 is also National Hispanic American Heritage Month
“Right now most of the events are happening in Cobourg. What we’ve discovered is that most of the Hispanics that we’ve been able to contact live in the region from Cobourg to Port Hope,” Fabián explained.
It should be pointed out too that Fabián is a versatile Colombian-Canadian singer-actor (tenor) and an intuitive, knowledgeable voice coach. His bio can be found at: https://www.fabianarciniegas.com/about-2/
He came here in 2010 with his wife, a Canadian, whom he met while she was working in Colombia.
“We decided I would come here to study. I did a Master’s in opera performance at the University of Toronto..so because my wife’s parents are living in Port Hope, we came to this area.” Fabián and his wife live in Colborne.
Talking about living in Northumberland he said, “I think it’s changing so much. When I came here I felt that I was the only Latin person and now we have lots of Hispanic immigrants that are arriving to this area … We hear someone speaking Spanish (and ask) are you from Latin America? Yes. So we start to gather more and more people and it’s changing the landscape.”
Talking more about the festival he said, “We are having an exhibition that’s in Colborne that is an art and heritage exhibition in the Colborne Museum. And this year it is going to be dedicated to Latino Hispanic Canadian women in art. So it’s like a showcase of some women that are working with artists here in Canada,” he commented.
The opening night is this Friday, Oct. 6.
Fabian will be performing as well during the festival, a solo show at Victoria Hall on Oct. 22.
“People can go to the website and they can see all the information there and buy tickets. Some of the festival events are free, like the film festival which is completely free (pay what you can at The Aron). There’s a workshop for people to explore acting…there’s an opportunity as background in movies and television and so we brought some experts, trainers to do a workshop with people on how to get involved with that industry too, because it’s very dynamic, and there’s not enough representation of the people in this area,” he explained.
The club is hosting a gala with dancing and Hispanic food at the Best Western in Colborne on Fri., Oct. 13. “We want everybody to join us,” he said with enthusiasm.
Here’s a link to learn more about the films at The Aron celebrating the Northumberland Hispanic Film Festival: https://arontheatre.com/special-events1/
For more information about the club go to: https://www.northumberlandhispanic.ca/