CineCLACS presents Vertical Slum, a 50-minute video documentary, explores how architecture reflects ideology. It uses the Confinanzas Tower, also known as the Torre David, in Caracas, Venezuela as a case study of the huge social, economic and political changes of the past three decades of Venezuelan history. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the film's director Irene Sosa, moderated by Mario Murillo.
About the film:
a 50-minute video documentary, explores how architecture reflects ideology. It uses the Confinanzas Tower, also known as the Torre David, in Caracas, Venezuela as a case study of the huge social, economic and political changes of the past three decades of Venezuelan history. The building reflects the transformation from the extreme free market policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund in 1989 to the so-called socialism of the XXI century of the Hugo Chavez government.
The building of the tower was conceived and begun during the economic boom of the early 90’s but left only 60 % finished when the financial crisis hit in1994 when the structure was abandoned for a number of years. In 2008 the Confinanzas Tower was given a new life when it was transformed by housing-hungry low-income families who turned the structure into their own highly organized community.
Vertical Slum documents the history of the last 30 some years through the building from its early planning till its transformation into a vibrant social project and its dismantling and new abandonment. In the early months of 2015 the government moved the more than 5000 inhabitants out and once again left the tower empty.
About the Director
has been a Professor of the Department of Television and Radio, and the Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department at CUNY’s Brooklyn College. She is a Fulbright Scholar. A graduate of the MFA Film and Television, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, she also holds a BA in Mass Communication from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.
Irene Sosa began working in film in 1982 and since then has been making documentaries. She has also worked as camera-person and editor in film and video, and collaborated with other artists in many multimedia installations and dance performances.
She recently completed Vertical Slum, a project that takes up issues of architecture and culture, and how buildings reflect the ever-changing social reality. The documentary focuses on a building in the heart of Caracas that was left unfinished and abandoned. In 2007 the building was taken over by some 200 families and has since become a “vertical slum” housing some 5,000 people.
Her previous work, Shopping to Belong, explores the search for cultural citizenship in the Latino community through consumerism.
In 2004 she was commissioned by the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea in Galicia, Spain to make an anthology of her work on artist Nancy Spero as part of a retrospective of the artist. Two of these documentaries are included in the DVD Spero/Golub produced by Kartemquin Films.
In 1999 she made Sexual Exiles a documentary about gays and lesbians who left their home countries and how they deal with the sense of loss immigrants have for their homeland and how they claim space and their rights in this new society. Her work has been shown in many national and international venues and has received recognition in the press both here and abroad.
Sosa has been the recipient of various grants and awards, including: an Individual Artist's Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a fellowship from The Andrea Frank Foundation, an Individual Artist grant from the New York State Council for the Arts. She has also received five PSC-CUNY Research Awards as well as a Brooklyn College Creative Achievement Award and two Claire and Leonard Tow Faculty Research Travel Fellowship.
Mario Alfonso Murillo
is Professor and Chair of the Radio, Television, Film department in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University, where he teaches courses in radio journalism and documentary production, media studies, and Latin American studies, among other subjects. As a journalist, radio documentarian, writer and researcher, he has focused much of his attention on the cultural and social role public interest, community-oriented radio plays in local and national contexts, and considers citizen’s media to be a fundamental tool of cultural affirmation, artistic expression, civic engagement, and political participation, all of which are the underlying themes of his current project, the manuscript Voices of Resistance: Indigenous Media and the Struggle for Social Justice in Colombia.
He has worked in commercial, public, community, and university radio for over 28 years in various creative capacities. He was a longtime host and producer on WBAI 99.5 FM Pacifica Radio in New York, where he served as director of Public Affairs Programming from 1989-1998 and anchored its long-running morning drive public affairs and news show Wake Up Call for over twelve years. An award-winning radio feature reporter and documentary producer, he has reported regularly for NPR's Latino USA as its New York correspondent, NPR’s All Things Considered, and Pacifica Network News, among other outlets. Since 2001, he has served as special guest host on WNYC New York Public Radio’s The Brian Lehrer Show (www.wnyc.org). He also was a news reporter for 1010 WINS AM, the top-rated all-news radio station in New York from 1986 to 1989. Currently, he serves as executive producer of Morning Wake Up Call, the public affairs news/talk program heard on WRHU 88.7FM (www.wrhu.org) every Monday-Friday from 7:00 to 9:00am, the community-licensed radio station of Hofstra University.
This event is free and open to the public. ID is required to enter the building.