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Academy Award-Winning Film “Wednesday Afternoon” To Screen On Campus Feb. 2

Published: February 1, 2011

The Academy Award-winning 24-minute film “Wednesday Afternoon” screens in the Karl Anatol Center on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m. in a performance hosted by the Romance/German/Russian Languages and Literatures Department (RGRLL), Partners for Success, and the Spanish Club. Admission is free.

The film is offered as part of Spanish 310, Introduction to Literary Analysis, taught this semester by RGRLL’s Bonnie Gasior and Leslie Nord.

“The students will see the film incorporated into their exam on narrative,” she said. “They also will participate in a Q&A with the film’s lead actor, José Yenque.”

“Wednesday Afternoon” is based on the short story “Lazos de Familia” by Edmundo Paz Soldán, which deals with the difficult relationship between a father and son. Yenque received the 2010 Ilka Humanitarian Award given to performers who contribute to society through their humanitarian efforts. The actor has appeared in such TV series as “Law and Order: SVU” and “Lost” as well as performing opposite Benicio del Toro in “Traffic” in 2000. ”Wednesday Afternoon” was recognized in 2004 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the student short film category.

Gasior feels this kind of campus activity epitomizes what the RGRLL Department is all about.

“There were little funds for intellectual events this past year, yet the RGRLL Department hosted 50-plus events with basically zero dollars. We distributed more than $5,000 in scholarships to deserving students and organized 46 of the 150 events held in the College of Liberal Arts last year alone. We also found ways to collaborate with other departments and secure sponsorship extramurally,” she said. “Our department has extremely active students who appreciate a creative learning environment. Screenings like these are ways to show students how faculty members care about their academic health. They demonstrate how the department puts students first. It is wonderful to be a part of such an active department that is so student-oriented.”

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Gasior feels a success story like Yenque’s is especially pertinent for students attending an institution that is one of only 212 in the United States to be designated as Hispanic-Serving by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

“José Yenque is somebody who, despite many obstacles, has succeeded in Hollywood and managed to remain grounded,” she said. “His visit to CSULB attests to his belief in education. He is a great role model for all students, especially our Latino population, because he has been able to carve a path for himself. Through his example, our students are reminded that ‘if he can do it, so can I.’ I’m thrilled to be organizing this event, and the students are waiting with anticipation.”

Gasior encourages other CSULB faculty to make a similar commitment to student outreach. “It always figures as a huge commitment that involves numerous e-mails, phone calls and paperwork. But it can be very rewarding to stand in the middle of all that excitement,” she added. “When students come to me after the event or e-mail me to give positive feedback, I find that very meaningful. It expresses why I went into education in the first place: to help students.”

–Richard Manly