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Film Philosophy . . . ALTAR: Cruzando Fronteras, Building Bridges

ALTAR: Cruzando Fronteras, Building Bridges: Film Philosophy


Sponsored by
McAllen Chamber of Commerce * Art That Heals, Inc. * South Texas College * El Zarape Press *

A film by Paola Zaccaria and Daniele Basilio (2009)

Now Seeking Sponsors to join the Mcallen Chamber of Commerce, Art That Heals, Inc., South Texas College, El Zarape Press.

Phone: (956) 358-7211


A documentary film . . .

 . . . celebrating the life of our querida, Gloria E. Anzaldua

ALTAR. Cruzando fronteras, Building Bridges. A documentary film directed by Paola Zaccaria and Daniele Basilio (2009). Research, script and production: Paola Zaccaria.

This film is a visual portrait of Gloria E. Anzaldúa (1942-2004), the Chicana poet and thinker who sang life in Mexican-American borderlands and created powerful images on cultural mestizaje and on the nepantla state. The loving ofrenda to her legacy takes shape in the texture of women’s border art(ivism) and in the cultural and political centers committed to creating bridges across differences.

In this biopic on Gloria Anzaldúa, the effort has been to document how her creative mind worked visually, how she was interested in art, and consequently her influence on women artists. After having gone through Anzaldúa’s papers (published and unpublished works, graphic works, collection of posters, buttons and t-shirts, etc) collected at the University of Texas at Austin, and having been able to map her links with artists, activists and cultural centers and interviewed women who were inspired by her thinking and poetics (such as Liliana Wilson, Santa Barraza, Juana Alicia, Amalia-Mesa Bains, Antonia Castañeda, Betita Martinez, Graciela Sanchez, Gloria Ramirez, Irene Reti, and al.), we have shot articrafts, photographies, video, painting, murales inspired to other artists by her poetics and theory of la frontera.

On the Texas borderlands in McAllen, Mission and Hidalgo (shot in April 2008, before the actual building of the wall), we captured the material passageways between Mexican and American borders along the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo; rivers which were the source for the texture of crossing which makes her work so special (insider guide: Daniel García Ordaz).

A special attention has been devoted to the poet’s altares reposited in the University Library of Santa Cruz, CA (curator: Irene Reti), which were an integral part of her spiritual life and creative process as a writer and may be the best picture to visualize the frame of her creative process.

The editing of the video has been built on the idea that the film should have the structure of an altar, a mestizo style and a poetic-musical fronterizo rhythm (given by the music of Lourdes Perez).

Local contact in the RGV is Daniel García Ordaz, @ 956-358-7211. To contact the film director, e-mail Paola Zaccaria, University of Bari, Italy at:

Artwork Courtesy of Celeste De Luna

(unless otherwise noted)

[ALTAR: Cruzando Fronteras, Building Bridges]
[ALTAR: Film Synopsis]
[ALTAR: Questions & Answers with the Director]
[ALTAR: Expanded Presentation by the Director]
[ALTAR: Director's Statement]
[ALTAR: Cast List]
[ALTAR: Technical Credits & Music]


© 2009 by VIPF; Web page donated to Art That Heals, Inc. by El Zarape Press.

Related Links

Art That Heals, Inc.
El Zarape Press
Mexican American Studies @ UT-Pan American