Film Screening: Después de María: Las 2 orillas [After María: The Two Shores] and Gifts from Babylon

Saturday, March 30, 2019 9:30 a.m. to noon

Flickering Landscapes Conference - The Image of Migration: Landscapes and People

March 28-30, 2019

The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

The public is invited to attend this conference and all events associated with it free of charge. The conference brings together scholars and filmmakers to address how moving images depict the relationship between human migration and place. Our definition of migration encompasses any movement of peoples, including migration within nations or across national boundaries. The variety of the spaces migrants move across demands that we define place in the broadest terms possible: land, and sea, and the built environment. For more details visit our website: Registration is free and is requested to help us plan for seating and refreshments. 

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Film Screening: Después de María: Las 2 orillas [After María: The Two Shores] (2018. Dir. Sonia Fritz. Documentary. Orlando and Puerto Rico. 65 mins) and Gifts from Babylon (Dirs. Bas Ackermann, Emiel Martens & Babucarr Manka. Drama. The Gambia. 10 mins)

The Bridge at The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

Saturday, March 30, 9:30 am - 12:00 noon 

A Q&A with Sonia Fritz will follow the screening of Después de María: Las 2 orillas [After María: The Two Shores]

A Q&A with Emiel Martens will follow the screening of Gifts from Babylon 

DESPUÉS DE MARÍA: LAS 2 ORILLAS [AFTER MARÍA: THE TWO SHORES] describes how communities and families in Puerto Rico and in the Puerto Rican diaspora in Orlando, Florida dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane María. The film focuses on two angles: how community leaders empowered their communities to deal with the disaster, and how families who migrated to the US have helped in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico.

Sonia Fritz is a filmmaker born and raised in Mexico into a German-Mexican family. She is currently professor of literature and cinema studies, including filmmaking, at the University of El Sagrado Corazón in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Besides her duties as a professor, she makes documentary films and feature films. She began her filmmaking career in her home city, Mexico, D.F., when she was an undergraduate student at the Universidad Autónoma Nacional. In 2000, Fritz received her MFA in visual arts from the Vermont College of Norwich University. Early in her career, in 1986, she won the Ariel prize (Mexico’s equivalent of an Oscar) for best documentary for De banda, vidas y sones (Of Bands, Lives, and Other Sounds). Her longtime interests in children, women, and immigration are especially timely today.

GIFTS FROM BABYLON is a 10-minute short film showing the return of an African migrant after having lived illegally in Babylon for five years. Babylon is the name that is often used in West Africa when referring to Europe, the idealized destination of many young West Africans when taking the so-called backway, the dangerous and illegal journey to Europe across deserts and high seas. The main character is Amadou, a 28-year old Gambian who took the backway when he was in his early twenties. Back then, he stole money from local gang leader Jimmy to cross the desert by truck and ended up in a smuggler’s boat to Europe. Now, five years later he returns to his home country, to reunite with his family and friends. After a harsh life of hustling on the streets of Italy and the Netherlands, Amadou comes back to the Gambia as a changed man – a bluffing man his family and friends can’t get along with. On top of that, the debts he left behind have not been forgotten by local gang leader Jimmy. While suffering from intense flashbacks of his Babylon life in Europe, and experiencing the poverty and insecurity of African ghetto life all over again, he wonders what has become of him. Although the current refugee crisis has generated public attention and policy action, the scope, nature and development of illegal Africa-EU migration are still poorly understood. Moreover, the personal impacts of migration are often overlooked, while the issue of return-migration remains understudied. This all particularly applies to The Gambia, where a disproportionately high number of youngsters take the backway, the journey through deserts and high seas illegal immigrants undertake to reach Europe (usually via Libya and Italy), and where return-migration has recently become more attractive with the restoration of democracy under the new president. Gifts from Babylon aims to become a catalyst for understanding, awareness and dialogue about the complex (and often misunderstood) issue of migration and return-migration among (West) Africans and Gambians in particular.

Emiel Martens is a media lecturer, researcher, consultant, and producer. Emiel joined the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam as a lecturer and researcher in 2004, where he is now working as Assistant Professor in Film and Visual Culture. In 2016, he also joined the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) to become a team member of the research project 'Worlds of Imagination' (ERC Consolidator Grant), a comparative study of film tourism in non-western societies. His research interests span the fields of Postcolonial (Media) Studies, Media Geography, Popular Geopolitics, Migration and Diversity Studies, Creative Industries, Film (and) Tourism and Alternative Media, with a particular focus on the history, theory and praxis of the (Anglophone) Caribbean film and visual culture.


The Center for Humanities and Digital Research, The Nicholson School of Communications and Media, and the Texts and Technology Doctoral Program at the University of Central Florida
The Office of Research, The College of Graduate Studies, CREATE (Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology and Entertainment), The Department of English, The Department of History, The College of Arts and Humanities, FIEA (Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy), The Center for Humanities and Digital Research, The Nicholson School of Communications and Media, The Puerto Rico Research Hub, and The Texts and Technology Doctoral Program at the University of Central Florida

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