Colombian filmmaker shares short film, stories of identity


Photo Courtesy of Ms. Allison Ramirez

The Mexican-American Studies Society meets with author Emily Cohen Ibañez during 8th period on Wednesday.

Alejandro Silva Rodelo, Staff Writer

Greeley West students got a look into the film industry again on Wednesday when Colombian film director Emily Cohen Ibañez spoke with members of the Mexican American Studies Society  about her experiences as a filmmaker and video journalist during 8th period. 

Part of Ibañez’s talk to the students was to talk about how – as a filmmaker – she likes to work and base her projects off of people she meets and their experiences. The movie that was being screened on Wednesday was a coming of age story. The daughter of a migrant named Ashley has to become the breadwinner of her family by having an afternoon job as a laboroer on a strawberry farm and also having night time shifts at a factory. Ashley balances these things while she is preparing for the big prom dance coming up.

Ibañez explained that for those that want to pursue a career in journalism that sometimes the best stories are the ones that pop up in front of you. “I met this river rafting team of ex guerilla warfare members in Colombia that found their way in the national competition in Italy representing their country, all while trying to spread a message of peace by portraying it in their strategies,” Ibañez said. “ I’m not an avid sports fan, or even watcher, but meeting a team with such courage and determination to spread a massive message on the national level inspired me to do a video report on what they were doing.”

Of course, Ibañez talked about her challenges in filmmaking stating that her first film took around 10 years to put out. “The main challenge was networking to get the right people to work with,” Ibañez stated. “The hardest part about film work is not the filming, but getting your work to people and getting it out there.”

Members of the club enjoyed the Q&A with Ibañez.  Sophomore Victoria Mascarenas said, “It’s cool to be able to talk to someone that is in the film industry like Ms. Ibañez.”

Sophomore Jordyn Birdwell claimed, “It’s interesting to see someone from a very diverse ethnic background be able to portray the ways of life of those who also come from different ethnic backgrounds.” Birdwell also stated, ”It’s good that Ms. Ibañez is a part of a small group of film directors that want to portray what life is like being a minority.”

Overall this was another wonderful opportunity for the members of the Mexican American Studies Society to be able to talk to a film director that shares similar experiences as them.