She was speaking on Friday night at the Cine Lit launch held at the residence of the Spanish Ambassador at Cascade.
Salandy-Brown extended a special welcome to all the ambassadors of the Latin American countries “who have been our chief collaborators in this scheme to bridge the gap between Latin America and the English-speaking Caribbean”.
She explained that since the Lit Fest started six years ago they have been trying to recognise the fact that this country sits in the Caribbean where there are countries which speak other languages “and every year we have been trying to make the connection”.
She said “the gods were with us” as it is the 400th anniversary of the death of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, “the father of the Spanish language”, and also the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. De Cervantes is regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and penned the seminal work Don Quixote about a delusional man who believes he is a night and his adventures with a farmer.
Salandy-Brown explained that de Cervantes and Shakespeare will be “meeting each other” at the Bocas Lit Fest and they will be screening 27 films in the new enterprise from Saturday to May 1.
Cine Lit will feature films from countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Brazil, El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina and Guatemala. Salandy-Brown said the festival at the National Library has more than 100 events including the films and they are all free except the workshops which are full.
Chilean Ambassador Fernando Schmidt Ariztia in his remarks said Shakespeare and de Cervantes created a dialogue, and dialogue is the idea behind the film festival.
“It is a dialogue among cultures and through the languages,” he added.
He explained that it is cinema based on books or on lives of authors.
He thanked Salandy-Brown for the opportunity to present Latin American culture in Trinidad and Tobago.
He described it as a contribution of all Spanish-speaking countries to Bocas Lit Fest and to this country’s culture and “for an understanding between us”. He said it is a quality festival and the quality is very high, with some of the films receiving international awards around the world.
He also noted that most of the films being screened here for the first time.
The Ambassador pointed out that it is the first time all the Latin American embassies in this country were doing something together “and this is a good pilot experience and perhaps we can go again and do something in the future”.
“Therefore this is a cultural landmark in Trinidad and Tobago,” he added.
Spanish Ambassador Jos? Mar?a Fern?ndez L?pez de Turiso in his remarks said that for the past year the Spanish Embassy and the NGC Bocas Lit Festival have been working together on finding a way to jointly commemorate the 400th anniversary of de Cervantes’ death.
For his remarks he wore a ruff around his neck, a frilly item of clothing which was worn in Western Europe from the mid-sixteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century.
Among those in attendance on Friday night were a number of ambassadors from Latin American countries, Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam and storyteller Paul Keens-Douglas.