School of Journalism and Media Studies presents “Coco” Screening

The event featured special performances and a discussion with the Arts Alive Artist in Residence

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Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

Ballet Folklórico Xochipilli performs at the JMS Screening Circle Series featuring the film Coco.

by Makayla Hoppe, Staff Writer

Every semester the School of Journalism and Media Studies hosts a film screening circle for both San Diego State University students and members of the community.

Students write messages on paper flowers to their passed loved ones during the JMS Screening Circle Film Series featuring Coco. (Brittany Cruz-Fejeran)

The screening circle opened up discussion about representation and inclusion in media. This year, the department focused on Mexican culture and tradition by discussing Día de los Muertos and showing the Disney-Pixar film “Coco.” 

The event opened with performances by Mariachi Dinastia & Ballet Folklorico Xochipilli de SDSU.

Ballet Folklórico Xochipilli performs at the JMS Screening Circle Series featuring the film Coco. (Brittany Cruz-Fejeran)

Nov. 1 marks the first day of Día de los Muertos, the yearly holiday that celebrates and honors family members who have died. Día de los Muertos originated in Mexico where it is primarily observed today. 

Nathian Rodriguez “Dr. Nate” helped facilitate the event and believes “Coco” is an important piece of media to share with students for this semester’s screening circle. 

“This movie is very important because it reflects a facet of society that we don’t see,” Dr. Nate said. “We see some Latinx-variant views, but we don’t see Mexican-American culture and ‘Coco’ really shows us that. For me, I grew up Mexican –  not just Latinx but Mexican – so it reminds me of my grandma, the food we ate, the pueblitos we used to visit…So it is very nostalgic to me.”

A main component of the event was a discussion with SDSU’s resident artist, Herbert Siguenza. Siguenza served as a cultural consultant for “Coco” and provided voices for Tío Oscar and Tío Felipe.

Guest speaker, Herbert Siguenza waves at the audience while participating in a Q&A mediated by Dr. Nate Rodriguez, associate director of journalism and media studies at SDSU during the JMS Screening Circle. (Brittany Cruz-Fejeran)

“I’m just so proud to be part of it because it’s going to live on beyond me. [Disney] did a good job because they did their research,” Siguenza said. “They said, ‘Let’s go to Mexico, let’s really get involved and let’s hire cultural consultants.’ So that’s why the movie works, because it has input from a lot of people, and input from the Latino community and that usually is not the case.”

The Arts Alive Artist in Residence program enlists a professional to aid the university in promoting and engaging underrepresented communities. 

Students applaud in the Union Theatre while attending the JMS Screening Circle Film Series. (Brittany Cruz-Fejeran)

“They wanted an artist to come and work with the students in their fields,” Siguenza said. “I’m multidisciplinary: I paint, I do film, TV and theater. I have a lot of different things I can do.”

Siguenza is currently looking for student collaborators for his next project as artist in residence. He is planning on a comedic television show and seeks writers, actors, video production students and those in the music department. 

If you are interested in working with Siguenza and developing a new television show, contact him at hsiguenza@sdsu.edu. The first brainstorming meeting will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 2 in PSFA 100. Meeting times are 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.