by Lindajoy Fenley
Colombian schoolteacher Luis Soriano began his literacy campaign with just a few books in the 1990s, delivering them to remote areas from the back of his burro.
His efforts have since become internationally known, bringing thousands of books to rural areas. The film “Biblioburro” that tells his remarkable story will be screened at the Butte County Library at 6 p.m. Oct. 17.
“Biblioburro” is part of a KIXE pop-up 12-film project geared to creating an environment in which the public can learn about and discuss important social issues, called the “Third Thursday Film & Discussion” series.
“We wanted to use documentary films as a catalyst for discussion about place, race, poverty and other important topics of social civic engagement,” Julie Driver told Chicosol in a telephone interview. “The underlining theme is collaborative impact that starts with one person.”
“Biblioburro” is in Spanish, but the film has English subtitles. It will be shown free of charge at the library at 1108 Sherman Ave. in Chico.
The public television announcement about the 2011 film notes that Soriano’s “library on hooves” had to face armed bands, drug traffickers, snakes and heat to deliver “an inspirational message about education and a better future for Colombia.”
In an email to ChicoSol, Driver said that KIXE staff hopes not only to “expose and educate viewers to different lives and different ideas,” but also to “move toward action… We want to highlight the power of collective effort that starts with seeing a need and collaborating with others to address it.”
In a partnership with Independent Lens, the station has been showing films in public locations in Redding for three years. KIXE expanded the program to Chico this year after hiring additional staff, says Driver, who handles the station’s corporate and community engagement.
KIXE is also providing an extensive reading list and discussion guide for teachers or other community members who want to use the film in groups. For example, recommended as adult nonfiction is “Voices of the Poor in Colombia: Strengthening Livelihoods, Families and Communities” by Jairo A. Ardoleda.
As children’s fiction, a recommended reading is “Waiting for the Biblioburro” by Monica Brown and John Parra.
Other films to be shown in the Butte County Library over the coming year include:
On Nov. 21, “The First Rainbow Coalition” on the Chicago Black Panther Party’s work to form alliances across lines of race and ethnicity with other community groups;
On Feb. 20, “Always in Season” about how the victims and perpetrators of lynching work to heal the aftermath of violent history in four American communities;
On March 19, “Bedlam,” a psychiatrist’s work in emergency rooms, jails and homeless camps.
ChicoSol is one of several media partners for the Thursday film series.