For International Women's Day, we have a story of how the Wex has helped bring a historic work about women's resistance to a whole new audience.
Wild Sounds, the film/video event presented in two programs this month, began as a larger series for Flaherty NYC last fall, co-curated by Wex Assistant Film/Video Curator Chris Stults and Genevieve Yue, an assistant professor of Culture and Media at The New School (FYI, Genevieve will be joining us for Program Two on March 21). One of the shorts selected for Wild Sounds is Somos + (translation: We Are More), a 1985 video created by the filmmaking team Kollectiv (Pablo Salas/pedro Chaskel) from footage shot during a protest that same year in Santiago, Chile. Organized by Mujeres por la Vida (Women for Life) against the Pinochet dictatorship, the protest filled the streets of Santiago's central Avenida Providencia, defying a year-long national state of siege. This incredibly powerful—and freshly timely—work captures the resolve of these women and their allies in the face of police reactions that evolve from polite condescension to violent antagonism.
Genevieve saw the film last spring in a Latin American program at the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen, Germany. With the focus on women's voices in Wild Sounds, she felt that Somos + would be a natural fit, but she discovered that all English subtitled copies had been lost in the 30+ years since it was produced. Working with editor Paul Hill in the Wex Film/Video Studio, Chris secured a work copy and created a new version with English subtitles, ensuring that this important film could be seen and appreciated by modern English-speaking viewers. Since receiving the newly subtitled version of the work, Federico Windhausen, the curator who brought the short to Oberhausen, has shared it in programs at Los Angeles's Echo Park Film Center and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., with more screenings certain to come in the future.