Award-winning filmmaker visits USF

In more than 20 years of involvement in producing films and documentaries, Paul Espinosa has won a long list of awards for films and public television broadcasts dealing with issues in Latino life.

Espinosa’s resume includes eight Emmys, five Golden Eagle awards from the Council of International Non-Theatrical Events, two Ohio State Awards for broadcast excellence, a Golden Mike Award for continuing news coverage and three ribbons, two Blue and one Red, at the American Film Festival.

Espinosa will be at USF today to present his documentary film on the U.S./Mexico border issues titled The Border.

“I just think that the media is very important and film is a very powerful way to reach people with ideas about the world that we live in. I have been fortunate in having been able to make films that have been able to reach a fairly significant audience through public television,” Espinosa said.

The Border, which was produced for PBS a number of years ago, is an examination of the perception people have of the border.

“The film examines various aspects of the border, particularly trying to present some alternative stories about the border, which tends to be imaged in a relatively negative way. We tend to hear a lot about immigration and other sorts of negative types of stories, but maybe not so much about the other things that are happening along the border,” Espinosa said.

Because of the media coverage given to the region, Espinosa said most people perceive the border to be a very dangerous place consisting of only drugs and corruption. But, he said, there is much more going on in the area than most people realize.

“Part of what we try to do in this story is get into some of the complexities of the region, particularly in terms of telling other kinds of stories. For example, we talk about the most successful movie in history, Titanic. It was actually filmed in the border region in Baja California,” Espinosa said.

In addition to talking about Titanic, other issues dealt within the film are land grab litigation occurring in South Texas and a story about winter snowbirds — people who migrate south to the border region for the warmer weather.

“A lot of the people who are migrating to the border aren’t coming from the South, they are coming from the North,” Espinosa said.

During the presentation, Espinosa will show some clips of other films he has produced, followed by a question-and-answer-session. The event will take place at 6 p.m. tonight at the Grace Allen Room on the fourth floor of the USF Library. The event is sponsored by the Globalization Research Center and cosponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Center for International Business.