Francisco Espada / Spain / 102 min / 2015 / Spanish with English subtitles
A festival favorite, The Country of Fear is a must see for high school and college level students. The film touches upon one of the most talked about behavioral issues happening on campus these days. Carlos, Sara, and their preteen son Pablo, live a peaceful middle-class life until Sara begins to notice things disappearing in the house. She blames the Moroccan maid and eventually fires her. But the stealing doesn’t stop; Pablo is the culprit. Fearful, Carlos decides to follow Pablo to school where he discovers that a 13-year-old classmate, Marta, is bullying and extorting Pablo. But resolving the affair isn’t that easy and he becomes Marta’s victim as well. Carlos’s inability to defend himself, or his son, pushes him to a series of anguished situations that would lead him to make the wrong decisions. THE CROW’S NEST (Malacrianza)
Arturo Menéndez / El Salvador / 70 min / 2014 / Spanish with English subtitles
The first fiction film from El Salvador to be produced since 1969 and the first ever to see a worldwide release, The Crow’s Nest follows Don Cleo, a humble piñata salesman who receives an extortion letter at his doorstep. If he doesn’t pay $500, a small fortune for him, within 72 hours, he will be killed. Don Cleo quickly decides to gather the money through friends, but the harder he tries to raise the funds, the deeper into trouble he gets. If Don Cleo hopes to survive, he’ll have to face his fears and stand up to his tormentors. With a magnificent use of deadpan humor and charm, The Crow’s Nest depicts a unique and realistic vision of El Salvador, where evangelical churches, reverence for the concept of the American Dream, the local struggling economy, and violence are everyday experiences for its most vulnerable population. Shot on location in neighborhoods controlled by gangs, the script was based on a collection of real stories.