Featuring five days of cultural celebration, the Watsonville Film Festival (WFF) will present a powerful and inspiring Day of the Dead program of online activities October 28 – November 1. This will include locally-produced short films, virtual music and dance performances by local artists, poetry, panels and discussions, and hands-on tutorials, all streaming free at watsonvillefilmfest.org
”Everything is different in 2020, but the beautiful Día de Muertos traditions must continue,” says Consuelo Alba, WFF Executive Director. “And the community agrees. We are collaborating with as many organizations and artists as we did in past years, when we presented this event at the Plaza.”
In order to keep the tradition alive during the pandemic, the Festival will present a collection of short films focusing on the spirit of the celebration. Two locally-made films (Macaria and Common Ground), an award-winning gem from Mexico (Music for the Ultimate Dream), and some wildly entertaining animated films round out the program.
WFF is also partnering with local filmmakers and Mariposa Arts to produce a series of musical performances and arts tutorials to offer to the community, all filmed at the colorful Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery in downtown Watsonville.
“The Fiesta de Día de Muertos collaboration between Pajaro Valley Arts, Watsonville Film Festival and Mariposa Arts was all about creative synergy,” says Judy Stabile, Pajaro Valley Arts Board Treasurer. “We looked at different ways to engage our community for our most highly attended events of the year, knowing that our programming would most likely happen virtually. While the formats have changed, Fiesta de Día de Muertos and Mi Casa es Tu Casa will, as in the past, be joyful celebrations of community.
Another highlight this year is the 40th Anniversary of Watsonville’s own Mexican folkloric dance group, Esperanza del Valle. They will offer a virtual dance performance specially created for the occasion, as well as the online premiere of their choreo-drama Macaria and a panel with ensemble’s director Janet Johns and dancers.
“The WFF Team has been working very hard to bring us an amazing program so that our community can participate in this wonderful cultural celebration in a safe and authentic way,” says Jacob Martinez, WFF Board President.
Fiesta Virtual de Día de Muertos 2020 is presented in collaboration with Pajaro Valley Arts, Digital NEST & Mariposa Arts, with support from the California Arts Council, Arts Council Santa Cruz County, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County & County Park Friends.
WFF’s Fiesta Virtual de Día de Muertos 2020 Overview
Oct 28 – Nov 1
FILMS: Watch anytime starting October 28 through Nov 1. The festival will present a collection of short films focusing on the spirit of the celebration. Two locally-made films (Macaria and Common Ground), an award-winning gem from Mexico (Music for the Ultimate Dream), a documentary (Artbound: Day of the Dead), and some wildly entertaining animated films round out the program.
DAY OF THE DEAD SPECIAL PROGRAM: Sunday, November 1, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
A celebration with music and dance featuring artists from Watsonville, including a special dance performance by Esperanza del Valle, songs by local musicians, and short videos made by local filmmakers featuring the intimate process of creating ofrendas (altars) for loved ones..
LIVE EVENTS: Join in each day at 6PM
Wed. Oct 28: Live Calaca painting class with Gilroy-based artist Nacho Moya
Thu. Oct 29: Day of the Dead Poetry – Featuring internationally renowned poet Lucha Corpi, local author and poet Adela Najarro and Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol / Writers of the New Sun from Sacramento. Event hosted by Adela Najarro and Shirley Flores-Munoz, Cabrillo College Instructors and Pajaro Valley Arts.
Fri. Oct 30: Mi Casa Es Tu Casa Panel – Conversation about the annual Day of the Dead Exhibition presented by Pajaro Valley Arts focusing on the short film “Common Ground”, which documents multicultural ways of honoring ancestors and dearly departed. Guests include Carmina Eliason, artists Lucien Kubo & Judy Stabile.
Sat. Oct 31: Panel with Esperanza del Valle – Celebrating their 40th Anniversary, Director Janet Johns and dancers reflect on their own original choreo-drama “Macaria” and their trajectory celebrating dance & culture in Watsonville.
TUTORIALS / WORKSHOPS: Watch anytime starting October 28
Artists from Arts Council Santa Cruz County’s Mariposa Arts will demonstrate how to make paper flowers and mini-skeleton piñatas, do face painting for the occasion and write calaveritas (short Day of the Dead poems in Spanish).
ART ACTIVITY AND COLORING BOOK: A 28-page bilingual book published by the Watsonville Film Festival, with support from Pajaro Valley Arts, is available as a fundraiser. Featuring original artwork by 10 local artists: Trinidad Castro, Kathleen Crocetti, Paul De Worken, Juan Fuentes, Ome Garcia, Rosa Hernández, Nessa Ledesma, Cindy Nalleli Rodríguez, Augie WK & Gerardo Zambrano. People can obtain a copy of this beautiful book & gift one to a farmworker family, while supporting the Watsonville Film Festival! Details at watsonvillefilmfest.org/amigos COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: WFF is inviting the community to take pics of their home ofrendas (altars), their Day of the Dead face paint and their Calaca, Catrina or Catrin outfits and send them to the WFF Team by October 26. They will be shared during the November 1st special event event for all to enjoy! Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org