Utah Film Center will screen former Park City resident’s film ‘Campesino’
the Leisa Lee Group
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14
Where: The Utah Museum of Fine Arts. 410 Campus Center Drive
Former Park City resident’s Mia Tate’s beautiful film “Campesino” juxtaposes the black and white photos of current Salt Lake City resident Carl Oelerich with the real-life stories of his subjects and his friendship with the Cuban tobacco farmers he photographs.
An amateur photographer, Oelerich makes his living as a skycap at Salt Lake City Airport and documents the disappearing way of life of Cuba’s Campesino farmers, forging friendships and capturing dignity and sacrifice through his surprisingly intimate pictures.
Two hours west of Havana in the rust-colored fields of Vinales, famous for growing the best tobacco in the world, Oelerich introduces audeinces to the Campesino life.
For 15 years, the sneaking into Cuba and photographing this culture has been the photographer’s passion, even during the period of U.S. sanctions against the country.
It is through Oelerich’s relationships and photographs that audiences embark on this journey with a cast of characters whose candid conversations overflow with insight, hardship, humour and gratitude.
• Modesto, a 98-year-old philosopher/cowboy with a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a handlebar mustache that would give Yosemite Sam a run for his money.
• Jose, a sweet family man and proud third generation cockfighter.
• Giovanni, the charismatic farmer who is a killer salsa dancer and devoted practitioner of Santeria
These are but a few of the people that have inspired Oelerich over the years, but it is the growing bond with his best friend and guide, Juan, that has had the most profound effect on the photographer.
For Juan, it’s all about family and Oelerich knows that their friendship won’t be complete until he steps away from the camera and brings his family to this place he has kept to himself for all these years.
“Campesino” allows audiences into a world preserved by time, to a village living life the way its ancestors always have, facing the encroachment & changes brought about by the boom of tourism.
The film had its premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival in August, just returned from the Portland Film Festival this October and will be screened at the Bahamas International Film Festival in November and La Habana Film Festival in Cuba this December. This screening is made possible in association with the Utah Film Center and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
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This weekend’s art auction will raise money for the Park City Community Foundation’s Community Response Fund.