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Cultural collaboration brings scriptwriting exchange to Ithaca

Garcia+in+his+work+space
Garcia in his work space
Two leaders of an educational visual arts program started a new scriptwriting workshop collaborative in September between Ithaca community members and students in Santiago, Chile.

The group of Ithaca community members, in part organized by Ithaca’s Latino Civic Association and Cornell’s Teatrotaller, and a group in Santiago, Chile started working separately at the beginning of September to write scripts for an original short film by the end of November. The two groups will then swap scripts and begin adapting and producing each other’s ideas.

This cross-cultural collaborative workshop is a new endeavor from La Poderosa Media Project  a group that encourages cultural exchange by bringing a group of American students to countries in Latin America for six weeks to create original scripts and produce short films.

The process helps the groups gain an understanding of the other’s culture, said Jorge Garcia, Curriculum Director for La Poderosa.

“In the end the scripts contain ideas, contain ideology, beliefs that are from the group that wrote that script. So we want them to work with those documents and get in touch with different beliefs, ideas, systems, and world views,” Garcia said.

The project began in 2005 as a way to bring arts education to underserved communities in Latin America. With a grant from Wellesley College in 2006, the group produced four short films and a documentary in Dominican Republic, Panama, Ecuador and Argentina. La Poderosa has since developed into a meaningful exchange that allows students to learn about another culture through the process of creating characters and adapting scripts, said Alejandra Zambrano, Founder and Executive Director of La Poderosa.

“Part of our mission at La Poderosa is to promote empathy, meaning how you put yourself in the shoes of the other person and see the world through the eyes of the other person. That’s going to help us work through differences that a lot of the time don’t allow communication,” Zambrano said.

Several students may also have the opportunity to travel to the partner country once the scripts are ready to come to life in the spring.

 

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