Earlier this year, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) awarded Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Andrea Smith, Ph.D., a Maurice L. Mednick Memorial Fellowship grant, which Dr. Smith used to attend the 21st annual Lima Film Festival in Lima, Peru, in August 2017. The festival was held at the Cultural Center of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, the university where Smith studied abroad as an undergraduate and did research as a graduate student.
“Attending the festival enabled me to continue research that I completed during my sabbatical in spring 2017 by allowing me to screen new works by filmmakers around the world,” said Smith. “Although I predominantly attended screenings of Peruvian films, I also was able to see productions from Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. Early access to these films is useful not only in my research on the cultural production of South America, but also in my teaching, since I teach a course on Latin American cinema for the Spanish program and the Film Studies program.”
“My favorite Peruvian film was ‘Retablo,’ by director Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio, and the most impressive film from outside of Peru was ‘Una mujer fantástica,’ by renowned Chilean director Sebastián Lelio,” said Smith. “Since the festival, I have contacted the director of ‘Retablo’ and am eagerly awaiting the international release of the film so that I can start writing an article on its representation of sexuality and gender roles in a rural community in Ayacucho, Peru.”
The Maurice L. Mednick Memorial Fellowship was created in honor of a young Norfolk industrialist whose family and business associates wished to perpetuate his name by establishing a memorial that would emphasize his and the donors’ strong interest in higher education. Administration of the Mednick Memorial Fund is vested in the VFIC to encourage the professional development of college teachers and improve their academic competence through fellowships for research and advanced study.
Founded in 1952, the VFIC is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading independent colleges in the Commonwealth. The VFIC supports these institutions by securing gifts and grants for the consortium, increasing their visibility, facilitating collaborative initiatives among the colleges and supporting programs which ensure that the personalized and effective educational experiences of these colleges remain an affordable choice for the young men and women who will be tomorrow’s citizen-leaders.