Lawrence music education professor Matthew Arau helps launch historic band conference in Cyprus

As reunions go, this one has historic overtones.

Two Lawrence University graduates, Matthew Arau, the chair of Lawrence’s music education program and the associate director of bands, and Yiannis Miralis, an associate professor of music at European University Cyprus, soon will renew their friendship at a three-day band conference May 6-8 in Nicosia, Cyprus.

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Matthew Arau ’97 is chair of Lawrence’s music education department.

The conference, “Wind Bands in Greece and Cyrpus — Realities and Prospects,” will be the first of its kind for the entire eastern Mediterranean region and the Middle East.

Miralis, a 1993 Lawrence graduate, is helping organize the conference, made his former saxophone studio colleague at Lawrence in the early 1990s an offer he couldn’t refuse: come to Cyprus to help launch this conference in style by delivering the conference’s keynote address and work with our attendees.

“What an incredible opportunity,” said Arau, who returned to his alma mater as a faculty member in 2014 after graduating in 1997 with a bachelor of arts degree in government and a bachelor of music degree in instrumental music education and music performance (classical and jazz studies).  “This is a ‘ground floor’ conference and I’m thrilled to be a part of the first one. It will be an honor to work with band directors from throughout the region and help them get their programs closer to United States’ levels.”

The inaugural conference is expected to attract more than 50 band conductors, instrumental teachers and community leaders from Cyprus, Greece, eastern Mediterranean and Middle East countries.

Arau will deliver the address “Leading from the Podium.” Beyond his keynote address, he will guest conduct the European University Cyprus symphonic band, play a saxophone concerto, give a talk on the history of the wind band, conduct an open rehearsal and participate in a round-table discussion on music education as part of the conference.

Yiannis Miralis '93
Yiannis Miralis ’93

“In America, we are fortunate to have music ensembles as an integral part of the public education system,” said Arau. “Lawrence University is a leader in the field of music education and innovation. I look forward to sharing cutting-edge music education methods, concepts and points of view regarding leadership and conducting with the attendees at the international wind band conference.”

Arau and Miralis first met in 1991 as the only two freshmen students in Professor Steve Jordheim’s freshman saxophone techniques class. Yiannis attended Lawrence on a Fulbright Scholarship from Cyprus and graduated with a bachelor’s of music degree in music education.

Following the conference, Arau plans to stay with Miralis for a few extra days, catching up with his former classmate and working with some of Miralis’ university music students.

“This event marks the most hats I have ever worn at a music conference – speaker, teacher, conductor and performer.  I guess this is a true testament to my liberal arts education at Lawrence,” Arau said with a smile, looking forward to seeing his old friend and the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Photography exhibition examines Cuban revolution from the inside

Photographs taken by Lawrence University Professor of Spanish Gustavo Fares during a recent trip to Cuba will be exhibited in the Warch Campus Center from May 2-18.

Cuba-exhibition_newsblogThe exhibition, “Cuba: The Revolution from the Inside,” features 10 large-scale digital prints of photographs Fares took of display cases inside the Museo de la Revolución — the Museum of the Revolution —  in Havana, which served as Cuba’s presidential palace until 1959.

In light of President Obama’s recent historic visit to the island — the first by a U.S. president in 80 years — it is clear Cuba is on the verge of change.  The exhibition, divided into 10 themes, among them agrarian reform, Guantánamo and missile crisis, examines the ways the Cuban government presents the history of the 1959 revolution and the subsequent consequences for the Cuban people. It questions the tension between history and memory, our perspective from the present on the events of the past.

“In the United States we tend to be more familiar with the Cuban revolution as seen from the outside,” said Fares. “This exhibition wants to present a Cuban perspective of the revolution from the inside.

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Gustavo Fares

“I did not want to take away the visual features that characterizes a visit, a ‘being there,’ with the light, the people, the heat, the warm breeze coming through the museum’s open windows,” Fares added. “I believe one of the core values of photography is precisely to remind us that a body was there, present, to take the photograph. I tried to preserve the visual clues that remind us of that fact.”

Fares was part of a 34-member Lawrence-sponsored trip that spent eight days in Cuba in mid-March of this year.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Civic Life Project community film screening May 3 in Warch Campus Center

 Jamie DeMotts began experimenting with filmmaking when she was 11 years old.Civic-Life-Project-logo_newsblog

Without any editing software, the Lawrence University senior from St. Cloud, Minn., had to settle for manipulating an old JVC tape camera, recording over old footage to shoot new scenes.

With the help of “real” equipment and some valuable guidance from Lawrence faculty, DeMotts’ skills as a filmmaker have blossomed. One of her latest efforts, “Brown Water,” which she made with classmates Taylor Dodson and Hugo Espinosa, will be one of four documentaries shown Tuesday, May 3 at 6 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center at the fourth community screening of Lawrence University’s Civic Life Project.

The screening is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested at http://go.lawrence.edu/qdfw or by calling 920-832-7019.

“Filmmaking is a fantastic way to communicate stories,” said DeMotts, a self-designed environmental studies and film studies major. “Thanks to online videos, anyone can be a filmmaker. It’s a great way to express yourself and find your voice. I think everyone should be a filmmaker.”

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A scene from “Brown Water.”

Finding one’s voice is an important part of the mission of the Civic Life Project, which was created by award-winning filmmaker Catherine Tatge, and her husband, Dominique Lasseur. The CLP was launched at Lawrence in 2012 as an innovative educational tool to challenge students to learn about democracy in a unique way, discover more about the community in which they live and and find their own individual voice through the creation of a documentary video.

The ecologically-focused “Brown Water” explores the interaction between dairy farming and groundwater quality.

“People have heard about environmental problems so many times that it’s important to keep thinking of ways to represent them in a way that hits a target audience,” DeMotts explained of her team’s inspiration for film.

Other films featured at screening will be:

  • “Breaking the Silence: Unseen Racism” An examination of how racism goes unseen in a college town like Appleton.
  • “A Generation On Change” A local transgender student fights for not only her rights, but also for the rights of other transgender youths in the Fox Valley.
  • “Mental Health in the Prison System” A look at the value and use of mental health diagnosis and treatment in the Wisconsin criminal justice system.
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A scene from “Breaking the Silence: Unseen Racism.”

The topics for the documentaries grew out of conversations Tatge conducted with numerous community leaders to identify issues of concern in the Fox Cities. Three-member teams of Lawrence students then shared the roles of writer, editor, producer, director and videographer in creating the documentaries.

Students will lead brief, round-table discussions related to the issues following the screening of each film.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Haydn’s masterpiece “The Creation” performed by Lawrence Choirs, Symphony Orchestra

The Lawrence Symphony Orchestra joins forces with the Lawrence University Choirs in a performance of Franz Haydn’s masterpiece “The Creation” Friday, April 29 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public.

Choir-+-LSO_newsblogThe dramatic, three-part musical adaptation of the biblical story of creation — sung in the modern English translation by Robert Shaw and Alice Parker — will feature four guest artists: Neenah native Emily Birsan, soprano; Evan Bravos, baritone; Lawrence Associate Professor of Music Steven Paul Spears, tenor; and university organist Kathrine Handford, harpsicord. Birsan and Bravos are 2008 and 2010 Lawrence graduates, respectively. The performance will be directed by Phillip Swan, associate professor of music and co-director of choral studies.

Written in the late 1790s, the work commemorates the creation of the world as described in the Book of Genesis and John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” The three soloists in the work represent the archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Twice as Nice: Senior Tim Carrigg wins second national DownBeat magazine Student Music Award

When Fred Sturm, the former director of Lawrence University’s jazz studies program, suggested to Tim Carrigg that he venture outside the box, he took the advice and ran with it.

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Tim Carrigg ’16

The end result, “Namaste,” earned Carrigg national recognition from DownBeat magazine as the 2016 undergraduate winner in the original composition/large ensemble category in its 39th annual Student Music Awards competition.

It was the second year in a row Carrigg has been honored by DownBeat. In last year’s SMA competition, he won the undergraduate jazz arrangement category for his six-minute, big band arrangement “Once Upon a Time,” which was inspired by Herbie Hancock’s “Tell Me a Bedtime Story.”

Carrigg is in rare company at Lawrence as a back-to-back winner. He is only the second individual Lawrence student to win consecutive DownBeat awards, joining Javier Arau, who won SMAs in 1996 and 1997. The seven-member student band, Fatbook, which won two straight awards in 2010 and 2011 in the college blues/pop/rock group category, is Lawrence’s only other multiple winner.

Announced in DownBeat’s June edition, the SMAs are considered among the highest music honors in the field of jazz education. They are presented in 13 categories in five separate divisions: junior high, high school, performing high school, undergraduate college and graduate college.

Written over a period of six months, “Namaste” was actually performed and recorded live two months before Carrigg found out that “Once Upon a Time” had won a SMA.

“I certainly didn’t think I had another winner when I finished writing ‘Namaste’ because at the time, I wasn’t even aware I had won the first time,” said Carrigg, who is pursuing a bachelor of music degree at Lawrence in music theory/composition major with a jazz emphasis.

It was shortly after he had finished “Once Upon a Time” that Sturm, who passed away in August 2014, encouraged Carrigg to “write something that’s really original, really different.”

“At that time, I had been listening to a lot of rock I had heard when I was younger, bands like Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana,” Carrigg recalled of his conversation with Sturm. “I took all those influences and basically brought them together into ‘Namaste.’

Tim-Carrigg_newsblog_2016_2“I wound up with this really cool fusion between ’90s rock and more traditional elements of jazz. It has this feeling of solemnness but also excitement. In the middle of the piece, the horns start playing the texture of a lush chorale, only to catch you by surprise when the piece suddenly breaks for a heavy drum solo.”

The nine-minute piece features 18 musicians — five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones and five rhythm section players.

“Tim incorporates unconventional sounds and instruments and heavy metal/rock/fusion elements in his jazz ensemble works, which has greatly influenced his unique style of composing,” said Patricia Darling, who teaches jazz composition and arranging classes and directs the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble. “I love working with him because he has such a clear vision of what he wants to create and is determined and able to make it happen. It will be exciting to see where he goes with this when he heads to graduate school next year.”

“Namaste” is the latest of 15 concert style works Carrigg has written, five of which will be performed during his upcoming senior recital on May 14. He puts “Namaste” among his top three favorites.

“I put a lot of work into that piece and certainly was excited when I found out it won the DownBeat award,” said Carrigg. “The performers put in a lot of time on it and they all sounded great. It’s such a fun piece.”

Tim-Carrigg_newsblog3Following graduation in June, Carrigg will head to the University of Oregon where he’ll be a graduate teaching fellow while working toward a masters in jazz composition.

“What I would really love to do is be in a small group where I’m writing for individuals,” said Carrigg, who plays piano. “There’s something very special about writing for a small group of people where you’re connected on an individual level but you also know their personalities on the instrument.

“I love writing for big ensembles too, and that’s a skill set I’ll always have,” he added. “Ultimately, I’d like to be a performer as well as a composer. Small group writing has a pretty big place in my heart, whether that is through freelancing or being part of a group or collaboration.”

Since DownBeat launched its Student Music Awards competition in 1978, Lawrence students and ensembles have won a total of 27 SMAs, including seven in the past six years.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Political fallout of Common Core standards focus of economics colloquium

The political ramifications of the adoption of the Common Core education standards will be examined in a Lawrence University economics colloquium.

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Arnold Shober

Arnold Shober, associate professor of government at Lawrence, presents “You Wanna See Utah Become a Blue State? How the Common Core Raised Standards and Broke a Thirty-Year Truce between Republicans and Democrats” Thursday, April 28 at 4:30 p.m in Thomas Steitz Hall of Science 102.

When the Common Core State Standards were adopted in 2010 by 46 states, supporters thought they had gotten it right. After the spectacular flame-out of national standards 15 years earlier, Common Core boosters were determined to foil political opposition by applying lessons gleaned from earlier battles. The new standards touched only reading and math, were drafted by a large and diverse panel of experts and were state-led.

While supporters got what they wanted, in the process they wound up upending a long-standing, but uneasy, political peace.

Shober, a specialist on policy change and accountability in American education, is the author of the 2016 book “In Common No More: The Politics of the Common Core State Standards.” The book explores the shifting political alliances related to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, explains why initial national support has faded and considers the major debates running through the Common Core controversy.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Conservation leader details campaign for federal protection of wilderness area in environmental series address

Rick Johnson, director of the Idaho Conservation League for more than 20 years, discusses the campaign that led to Congressional protection of a 431-square mile wilderness area last August in a Lawrence University Spoerl Lecture Series address.

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Rick Johnson

Johnson presents “Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied: Preserving the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Area” Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Hall of Science 102. The event is free and open to the public.

A recognized leader in conservation strategy and organizational development, Johnson played a leadership role in a decades-long effort to obtain federal protection for a section of the Boulder and White Cloud Mountains in central Idaho.

Through old-fashioned organizing in a very conservative western state, a state of the art national campaign leveraging the Democratic administration and some well-timed good luck, Johnson was finally able to get Congress’ approval.

Johnson has called wilderness “an incredible statement of optimism.”

“All of us today are concerned about the future – whether the air will be clean to breathe, whether the water will be safe to drink, whether our climate will sustain life,” said Johnson.  “Wilderness is a truly optimistic statement that we’re going to pass on this planet for the future and pass on some of the recreation and outdoor experiences that I believe defines our way of life.”

Johnson has served on the boards of the Campaign for America’s Wilderness, Conservation Voters of Idaho, the American Wilderness Coalition, Advocates for the West and Conservation Geography.

His efforts have been recognized with the Secretary’s Honor Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2014 and the Outstanding Conservation Leadership Award from the Wilburforce Foundation.

The Spoerl Lecture in Science and Society Series, was established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward. The lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence students, faculty perform Steve Reich’s “Music for Eighteen Musicians”

In celebration of the piece’s 40th anniversary, Lawrence University musicians will give a rare performance to the day of Steve Reich’s seminal minimalist work “Music for Eighteen Musicians” Sunday, April 24 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The performance, part of Lawrence’s New Music Series, is free and open to the public.

Since its premiere in New York City on April 24, 1976, this hour-long work has enchanted and mesmerized listeners. It combines subtly shifting sonorities against a background pulse that came to define Reich’s sound during the 1970s and influenced a generation of composers.Music-for-18-musicians_newsblog

David Bowie included the piece in a list of his 25 all-time favorite albums, describing it as “Balinese gamelan music cross-dressing as minimalism.”

Instead of a traditional conductor, the piece utilizes audible and visual prompts that come mostly from the vibraphone and the bass clarinet but also other instruments as the piece progresses. This not only cues the ensemble but also teaches the audience to actively listen for the next stage of the performance.

Because of the sheer musical forces required to play the piece  — four grand pianos played by six pianists and five marimba players — “Music for Eighteen Musicians” is rarely performed. When it is, the result is a musical landscape that creates a dreamlike effect and an unexpectedly joyous experience for the audience.

Despite its very mechanical structure, the piece has continued to have a profound emotional impact on audiences for four decades.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

2016 Fox Cities Book Festival: Lawrence welcomes José Ángel N., Carine McCandless

Lawrence University hosts a pair of authors for presentations as part of the 9th annual Fox Cities Book Festival. Both events are free and open to the public.Illegal_newsblog

José Ángel N., whose memoir “Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant,” was the featured book for Lawrence’s annual MLK day of service, discusses his experiences of of trying to build a new life in America Thursday, April at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Diversity Center.

Arriving in the United States in the 1990s with a ninth-grade education after crawling through a tunnel from Tijuana, Mexico, N. made his way to Chicago, where he found access to ESL and GED classes. He eventually attended college and graduate school and became a professional translator.

Isolated by a lack of legal documentation, N. found solace in the education America provided. In his memoir, he challenges the stereotype that undocumented immigrants are freeloaders without access to education or opportunity for advancement while detailing the constraints, deceptions and humiliations that characterize alien life “amid the shadows.”

Entrepreneur and activist Carine McCandless discusses her 2014 best-selling book “The Wild Truth” Thursday April 21 at 7 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

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Carine McCandless. Photo by Dominic Peters.

In “The Wild Truth,” McCandless explores her troubled family life growing up, presenting an intensely personal journey to set the record straight about her brother’s tragic story, which was chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s best-selling book “Into the Wild.” McCandless worked with Krakauer on “Into the Wild” as well as with actor Sean Penn, who directed the critically acclaimed 2007 film of the same name. McCandless’ script contributions to the film earned her a screen credit.

In a review of “The Wild Truth,” NPR said it “opens up a conversation about hideous domestic violence hidden behind a mask of prosperity and propriety.”

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Linnea Garcia ’15

As part of the 2016 book festival, 2015 Lawrence graduate Linnea Garcia presents “Tips for writing & marketing young adult fantasy” Friday, April 22 at 3 p.m. at the Kaukauna Public Library.

Garcia, who began writing novels at the age of 10, is the author of the 2014 self-published fantasy fiction book “The Healing Pool.” She was the 2007 first- and third-prize winner of the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

5th annual Latin American and Spanish Film Festival features seven films from six countries

Seven films from six countries in four days highlight Lawrence University’s 5th annual Latin American and Spanish Film Festival April 20-23.

The festival features some of the best films from the 2014-2015 international season, including two Academy Award nominees as well as winners and nominees at some of the most prestigious international competitions and festivals.

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A scene from “Wild Tales,” the festival’s opening film.

Each film, shown in Spanish with English subtitles in the Warch Campus Center cinema, is free and open to the public. All the films are rated R, for mature audiences only.

“The goal of the festival is to bring to the Fox Cities the seven best Latin American and Spanish films of 2014 and 2015,” said Rosa Tapia, associate professor of Spanish and organizer of the festival. “Several of the films have not been commercially released yet and none have come to theaters in our area.

“As always, we are proud to present a slate of stellar regional premieres that Lawrentians, neighbors and friends can enjoy for free on the big screen,” Tapia added.

Complementing the film screenings will be a pair of presentations during the festival. Sophia McClennen, professor of international affairs and comparative literature at Penn State University and the founding director of its Center for Global Studies, presents “Latin American Cinema and Globalization” Friday, April 22 at 4:30 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Hall of Science 102.

One of the most respected intellectuals and commentators on global and political affairs and their portrayal by the media, McClennen has held a Fulbright faculty award in Peru, where she researched Peruvian cinema and has taught and conducted research around the world, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, Guatemala and Uruguay.

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Scene from “Embrace the Serpent.”

On Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m., Brionne Davis, the lead actor who portrays the American scientist Richard Evans Schultes in the film “Embrace of the Serpent,” will conduct a question-and-answer session about his experiences in making the film.

Two free bookend festival receptions, an opening one at 7 p.m. on April 20 and a closing one on April 23 at 7:30 p.m., will be held in the Warch Campus Center.

“The receptions are always very popular and lively components of the festival,” said Tapia. “Our audience members enjoy passionate discussions about the films, mingle with organizers and student volunteers and get to hang out with special guests.”

This year’s festival schedule:

• Wednesday, April 20, 5 p.m. “Wild Tales directed by Damian Szifron  (Argentina, 2014): A best foreign language Academy Award nominee, this hilariously deranged satire comprises six standalone shorts revolving around extreme human behavior in times of distress.

• Wednesday, April 20, 8:30 p.m. “Magical Girl” directed by Carlos Vermut (Spain, 2014): In this neo-noir film, the father of a terminally-ill girl tries to obtain his daughter’s last wish — the official costume of the main character of a Japanese TV series. Due to the costume’s high cost, he becomes involved in a bizarre chain of blackmail schemes.

• Thursday, April 21, 6 p.m. “600 Miles directed by Gabriel Ripstein (Mexico, 2015): ATF agent Hank Harris attempts to apprehend Mexican arms smuggler Arnulfo Rubio, but ends up getting kidnapped by him instead. During the 600-mile journey to Rubio’s bosses, the two men slowly befriend each other.

• Thursday, April 21, 8:30 p.m. “From Afar directed by Lorenzo Vigas (Venezuela, 2015): First-time director Lorenzo Vigas won the Venice Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Lion Prize for Best Picture with this story of a middle-aged gay man who wanders the streets of Caracas searching for young companions.

• Friday, April 22, 8:30 p.m. “The Club directed by Pablo Larrain (Chile, 2015): The Catholic Church sends a counselor to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns live after committing crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from single mothers.

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Scene from “Marshland.”

• Saturday, April 23, 5 p.m. “Embrace of the Serpent directed by Ciro Guerra (Colombia 2015): An Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and winner of the Art Cinema Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, “Embrace of the Serpent” follows the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search for a sacred healing plant.

• Saturday, April 23, 8:30 p.m. “Marshland directed by Alberto Rodriguez (Spain, 2014): Two detectives must put aside their differences to catch a serial killer who has been targeting women for years in a small town in the south of Spain.

The film festival is the final event in the year-long series “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History and Culture” a public programming initiative produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA). The program is part of an NEH initiative, “The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square.”

The programming was supported by a pair of grants Lawrence received: a $3,000 grant from the ALA and a $7,585 grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About Wisconsin Humanities Council
The Wisconsin Humanities Council is a leading statewide resource for librarians, teachers, museum educators and civic leaders, who drive entertaining and informative programs using history, culture and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone. The Wisconsin Humanities Council also awards more than $175,000 a year over seven rounds of grants to local organizations piloting humanities programming. For more information on Wisconsin Humanities Council, visit http://wisconsinhumanities.org or connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WisconsinHumanitiesCouncil or Twitter at @WiHumanities.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.