On Saturday, April 6, Southern Connecticut State University will present a retrospective of Hostos professor and award-winning filmmaker Joelle González-Laguer as part of the 9th Annual Latino & Native American Film Festival (LANAFF).

ProfessorJoelle González-LaguerThe annual festival is dedicated to promoting Latino and Native American cultures through the presentation of feature films, documentaries, animations, and other artistic expressions. The exhibition will showcase his works: “A Revolt Through Letters: Clemente Soto Vélez,” “Luis/Lizza,” “A Gay Prisoner of War: The Ricardo Jiménez Story,” “El Tunel,” and “Martorell: De Aquí Pa’llá.”

“I’m very excited about this opportunity and not only to accept it, but to share it with my beloved Hostos community,” González-Laguer said.

The filmmaker also looks forward to premiering his documentary “El Tunel,” at the Rincón International Film Festival (RIFF) on April 12, 2019 in Puerto Rico. The 13-minute short doc focuses on the Guajataca Tunnel in Puerto Rico, which connects the towns of Isabela and Quebradillas. Its construction in the early 1900s allowed for the island to be completely connected by railway for the very first time. The tunnel unfortunately was abandoned after motor vehicles became the preferred mode of transportation.

The film, which is nominated for Best Short at RIFF, has a special place in González-Laguer’s heart, as he hails from Isabela, and has long wanted to highlight the tunnel’s historical significance to the island and the need to preserve it for future generations.

The documentary’s film poster was designed by legendary Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell, whose installation “La plena inmortal” can be seen in the foyer of the Hostos’ C-Building.

González-Laguer is also coordinating the premiere of his documentary “CHAKALMEX,” in Mexico City later in the year in August. He explained that “In Mexico City, there’s a group of men who belong to a subculture called chacales; they are indigenous men who have sex with other men but don’t identify themselves as gay.”

“CHAKALMEX” was produced and filmed in conjunction with the Gender Commission of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), with which González-Laguer has collaborated since 2016, when they asked him to showcase his film, “Luis/Lizza.”

A Hostos graduate, filmmaker, President of Loka Productions Films, and professor in the Behavioral Social Sciences Department of the College, González-Laguer said he loves making documentaries because they provide a space to tell truths that usually get under reported and enables him to both educate and entertain audiences. “For me, what is important is that somebody comes out after watching one of my films and says,‘You know what? I learned something today, I now know something I didn’t know yesterday.’” ​