UCLA Prof Ushers In Another Latino Film Festival

The Ventura County Star has a nice marquee profile of local-boy-made-good John Ramirez. The UCLA film grad (and now teacher) has been, since 2005, the executive director of the Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival, which takes place this weekend at the Regency 6 Academy Cinemas in Pasadena.

There are 22 films in all. But what also continues to garner attention is a colloquial element of the event’s name:

In modern times, rasquache has come to mean a salute to Latino resourcefulness, the idea of making the most from the least–or as Ramirez put it, “making something good from very little,” a concept that seems to fit the small festival well.

But rasquache, a Spanish colloquialism, also is an insulting term, meaning having a low-class or impoverished attitude, that “carries negative connotations to many older Mexicans and Mexican-Americans,” Ramirez noted. “Every year, someone comes up to us at the festival and reads us the riot act about the name, like, ‘How can you use that word?’ ” he said. “It has more than one meaning.”

This is the second year the festival has been held off-campus, in Pasadena. A separate art exhibit component has been moved to August because of space considerations.