2011-2012 Colloquium Series
Dr. Jamie Meltzer (Assistant Professor, Art and Art History, Stanford University), will present "Exploring the Impacts of Medical Tourism"
Friday, November 18, 4:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Seven hours south of the US/Mexican Border lies the small town of Alberto, where the local community, like many pueblos across Mexico, has lost 80 percent of its population to migration into the United States. But Alberto has a plan to revive their community, the creation of a theme-park event - a simulated border crossing, complete with balaclava-clad "coyotes" as guides and "border patrol" that chase "migrants" up and down rough terrain through the night. They call this event the Caminata (translation: journey, hike, trek). The organizers designed the experience as a tool for compassion and consciousness-raising, showing the largely middle-class Mexican tourists who attend the difficulty and dangers faced by those crossing the border. Through an exploration of this unique journey, La Caminata adds a fresh perspective to the ongoing debate on immigration: that of Mexicans actively fighting poverty, joblessness, and desolation in their home communities.
Jamie Meltzer's documentary films have been broadcast nationally on PBS and have screened at numerous film festivals worldwide. They include Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story (Independent Lens, 2003), about the shadowy world of song-poems, and Welcome to Nollywood, an investigation into the wildly successful Nigerian movie industry (PBS broadcast, 2008). La Caminata, a recent short film about a small town in Mexico that puts on a simulated border crossing as a tourist attraction, screened at Silverdocs and True/False among others. Mr. Meltzer teaches in the Documentary Film and Video M.F.A. Program at Stanford University.