Established 1885

Christina Noland

Mass media department kicks off WIFI with guest speaker, Leonora Anzaldua

On April 21-23, the mass media department held its annual WIFI Film Festival. This year’s theme was art and healing. Filmmakers from around the world sent in their films and various guest speakers held workshops. 

Friday, April 21 kicked off the festival in the Mulvane Art Museum with guest speaker Leonora Anzaldua, a filmmaker. The event was well attended with students, faculty and visitors excited to learn from Anzaldua. 

Matthew Nyquist, assistant professor of film and video, started by introducing Anzaldua and some of her accomplishments. She was the recipient of the Sun Cinematography Award and the 2020 American Society of Cinematographers Vision Scholarship. She has been mentored by Michael Coyne, ASC, and worked in his camera department on “American Horror Story Asylum.” In addition, her student films have been screened at multiple festivals and have received several awards and nominations. 

The audience welcomed Anzaldua with an applause and she began discussing her journey in filmmaking and how it relates with the art and healing theme. 

“I was really interested in this WIFI’s theme of art and healing, and it’s something that resonates with me pretty deeply,” Anzaldua said. “I’ve often used art to explore some of the difficult things in my life.” 

Anzaldua described how as a child being a professional artist didn’t seem accessible to her due to the lack of representation of people with her own background in the field. However, from a young age, Anzaldua had a passion for art. 

“I loved art. I was fascinated by art museums. Even as a small kid, as a toddler, I would stare at abstract paintings far longer than my parents,” Anzaldua said. “I would keep them in the art museums until they got bored. I loved photography and I would gravitate towards those kind of exhibits like abstract art and photography really interesting, interested me.” 

In college, Anzaldua learned about the intricacies of filmmaking and cameras and became fascinated with it all. She began working on a project, which aided in her own healing and allowed her to hone in her voice. 

Anzaldua recalled hating her looks as a child because she didn’t have blonde hair like many of the characters she’d seen in the media. 

“The stories that included people that look like me, those people were not the protagonist, they were the antagonist,” Anzaldua said. “They were they had personalities that I didn’t relate to and it wasn’t the person that I wanted to there wasn’t the character that I wanted to be in the story.” 

Because of this, Anzaldua decided that she wanted to amplify underrepresented voices through her filmmaking and photography. She began taking self-portraits as actors and celebrities that took on certain personas in the public eye.

“I was really interested in the actors and the celebrities that took on these characters and how they were commodified and marketed to the public and how they felt about those personas that they were taking on and as a profession that they were embodying and not just the characters that they played, but also the celebrities that they played,” Anzaldua said. 

Anzaldua went onto show the audience her self portraits, explaining the art behind them and their meanings. She also presented a project she had done to demonstrate post-traumatic stress disorder to those who’d never experienced it. Anzaldua has done many projects such as these to highlight underrepresented voices.

After Anzaldua spoke, the floor was open to the audience to ask questions about her work in filmmaking and photography. Several audience members left the keynote inspired by Azaldua and thinking about art differently. 

Brandon Parker, an attendee, expressed his thoughts on Anzaldua’s presentation. 

“I thought it was kind of inspirational when she was kind of doubting herself when pushing towards art or not. The fact that she did and got herself to this spot. She got a lot of people listening to her talk, so very inspirational,” Parker said. 

Haley Downing, another attendee, enjoyed Anzaldua’s presentation finding her work interesting and emotional. 

“I really liked her film that she showed. It seemed like it portrayed a lot of hidden messages and kind of made me a little bit emotional,” Downing said.

To view Anzaldua’s work visit her website or follow her Instagram @leonoramakesmovies

Edited by Glorianna Noland

The Washburn Review • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Donate to The Washburn Review
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Washburn Review Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *