‘Ixcanul’ screening, panel discussion held during International Education Week

November 15, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State University Libraries, the Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK) and the Office of Global Programs present a screening of the film “Ixcanul,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on the University Park campus. A panel discussion featuring Edwin Early Sparks Professor of Colonial Latin American History Matthew Restall and Colleen Connolly-Ahern, associate professor of communications, will follow the film screening. This free event is part of International Education Week activities.

Ixcanul,” which roughly translates to “volcano” in the Kaqchikel dialect, one of the many Mayan languages spoken in Central America, was submitted as Guatemala’s first-ever entry in the foreign-language film category for the 2015 Academy Awards. It also won the Berlinale Film Festival’s Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize and was an official selection for both the 2015 Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.

The film is based on the real-life story of a Mayan woman with little to no control over her own destiny as she is trapped by the traditions of her people and expectations of her family. “Ixcanul” immerses viewers into the country’s landscape and the characters’ customs and beliefs, showing a disappearing tradition and a disappearing people. The 91-minute film is spoken in Kaqchikel by nonprofessional cast members with English subtitles.

One of the top picks by film critics worldwide, “Ixcanul” received even more acclaim after its theatrical release in the United States in late summer 2016. Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian previewed “Ixcanul” and called it “a fascinating blend of modernity and ritual.” Scott Foundas of Variety heralded the film, noting that it is “a transporting, hypnotically beautiful debut feature from Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante.”

Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact Helen Sheehy at hms2@psu.edu or 814-863-1347 in advance of the event.

  • young Mayan woman in front of a volcano

    Based on the real-life story of a Mayan woman with little to no control over her own destiny, Ixcanul was submitted as Guatemala’s first-ever entry in the foreign-language film category for the 2015 Academy Awards. It also won the Berlinale Film Festival’s Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize and was an official selection for both the 2015 Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 13, 2017