“I witnessed first hand the power of the film/dance presentation at this month's Soy Andina screening at the AFI Institute's Latin Film event in the DC suburbs where Cynthia performed and participated in the after-screening Q/A. WOW is all I can say!” - Joy Watnick Soul “I'm really glad you took that chance of making this documentary.” - Susan Sabogal “I heard you talk at the presentation of the Soy Andina film at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. I have to commend you for producing and directing such a great film! Thank you! I was in tears during the show because it reminded me of my roots and my family back home in Lima and all that dancing going on all over around town and country!!! Thanks again for what you are doing! I am positive all Peruvians ex-pats and those that are back in the ‘old country’ who have seen or will see this show feel the same!!
” - Maritza Garcia “This film addresses an issue not just for Latinos but all immigrants: that we don't have to relinquish a part of ourselves to become something that is not true to our identity...I hope it will help to increase the understanding of people like you, who do not perceive Latinos as a threat but as an ally in the making of this country.
” - Ivette Negron “Soy Andina is a source of inspiration and action
” - Bruce Markow, musician and bodyworker “It was wonderful to see the film. I am very excited to incorporate it into my presentation-- to compare real candid experiences with my theoretical research and conclusions -- it makes the work much more substantial and fulfilling. I've seen quite a few documentaries this year, and this was very enjoyable to watch in it's length, flow, and clear story line without superfluous information.
” - Larissa Sheldon, Sarah Lawrence College | Mere, Chidlren's Theater Co “LOVED IT! My family (from the influence of my daughter who is a folk dancer) is very interested in folk dancing. So appreciated the topic, but I enjoyed very much the interesting way you melded story lines and communicated messages in the film. I have watched it 3 times now…making note to myself for future projects and future research, finding new details each time.....you’ve managed to mesh the academic with the beautiful telling of a story.
” - Susanna McFarland, U.S. Embassy Lima “Great documentary on Peruvian dance and the 2 dancers!
” - Jay Wang “I really enjoyed the documentary on KCET.A great job producing, directing and filming. The story of one woman's passion to search for and discover, then learn and perform traditional Peruvian dances was entertaining and informative. The elaborate costumes were beautiful too. The Peruvians have a lot of heart and soul! ” - Pearl W. “I saw "Soy Andina" at the Harvard Film Archive. I was enchanted and moved and wanted to be sure my grandaughter and others could see it. I saw the dance as part of the richness and beauty of the people and the place. It is also a film of a remarkable, talented and sympathetic woman whose strength and dedication would surely be an inspiration to my 9 year old grandaughter who studies dance as well. I look forward to the release of the DVD.” - Janet and Jeff Murray “I have lived in the US for 19 years. After seen your video it put tears in my eyes, since it remind me went I was a child and dance our beautiful music. I was 6 years old went I won second place in el amauta in Lima. I have 1 photogragh taken by my aunt back them. I would love to meet the ladies from the video, I would love to maybe once again start dancing. VIVA EL PERU! ” - Dalia Patricia “A great movie!” - Blanca Ochoa, Cultural Attaché Embassy of Peru “Es un trabjo de intercambio e culturas, donde una vez se demuestra que el peru tiene una diversidad inmensa de colores, musica, danzas, lugares de lo cual que siento muy orgullosa, soy peruana....y felicito la iniciativa que tuvieron con este documental.” - Rocio Lopez “My mother and I had the wonderful pleasure of taking a coastal trip from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to see the screening of "Soy Andina." La pelicula hizo revivir muchos bellos momentos. This is definitely a fabulous piece of Peruvian culture. My mom is serrana from a little town called Apata in between Jauja and Huancayo, and she connected with everything Nelida experienced. I, as well, was able to relate to Cynthia's being a first-generation American. I really enjoyed it and shed a few tears of joy. It captivated & educated everyone in the theatre that Latinos are not just all about "techo-cumbia."
” - June & Rosie Fonseca Munoz “For 70 minutes we were marvelously transported to the sights and sounds of the Andes. What a treat! What a sensory and emotional journey! Congratulations on a superb documentary!” - Judy R. “Soy Andina is joyful and moving -- a true celebration of Peruvian culture through dance, captured on film!
” - Charlotte Von Hemert, International Latino Film Festival “It was great to see Soy Andina again (in Madison) -- it's the kind of movie you can watch several times and never get bored, because of the strong emotional side.
” - Eduardo Delfino “Fantastic for both adults and children...The film contributes to better understanding and appreciate the cultural roots of many immigrants in the USA, not only Latinos, and serves as entertainment as well as an educational tool!” - Gigi Pedraza, Inca Kids, Fair Trade and Sustainable Living “I had no idea how many types of dancing we have. I have never seen so many happy faces and how our people have an inner innocence, no matter how old. I remember when I was a little girl going to family reunions, and everyone danced, including my mother. I was embarrassed, but those events keep the family together. I am so happy that I was born in such an amazing country, and that I am going back again.” - Aidahalluska “I saw where the film is going to be shown through PBS and am very impressed. Wow, that is a wonderful thing you are sharing with so many people.
” - Mariella marredon, Indiana U. “I saw this group of colorfully dressed Peruvians marching in the gay pride parade and thought -- all these men dressed like Nelida!
” - Cindy Arlinsky “What a satisfying end to many years of hard work. It was worth the wait. Anyone who has ever been curious about where their family came from, or who has had to leave their family to pursue opportunity, will relate to this film. Learning about Peruvian culture and dance was fascinating, and knowing these two amazing women has enriched my life. Congratulations on this great accomplishment.” - Nancy Barber, Oscar-nominated editor “Your film was great. We all loved it. It is great to walk out of movie and actually feel good. Keep up the good work.
” - Caroline (Cape Cod) “I just finished watching Soy Andina on KCET (Los Angeles), and must say you have a lot to be proud of. It was a long journey and you did a wonderful job...you have given from your heart and there is nothing stronger. Allow the film to flow as a wonderful gift to those who see it.
− Dalia Allon-Meeter
” - Dalia Allon-Meeter “Felicitaciones a todos, es un gran esfuerzo por mantener en alto nuestro rico folklore con la esperanza que las nuevas generaciones encuentren su propia identidad en lo nuestro y no imitando lo extranjero. Bendiciones por mostrar su gran amor al arte y a Peru.” - Patricia Arfinengo, Arequipa “Tthank you for this movie -- it reminded me of my passion in life. Watching it has been an overwhelming inspiration to just go after what I want.
” - Christina Zaluca “Congratulations Mitch -- I went to your premiere at LA Latin American FF and I was very moved and proud to see your work ...so natural and well presented. ” - Mario Ledesma “Gracias por querer y hablar bien de mi pais nativo: "SOY ANDINA" es fenomenal mostrando nuestro rico folklore y costumbres de la sierra peruana y creo que puedes ofrecer el documental a los Distritos Escolares de California y demas con poblacion latinoamericana.
” - Mario Ledesma “Hopefully this movie will teach others and also empower Peruvian-Americans who are sometimes ignorant or embarrassed of Peruvian culture. It is sad to me when I see peruvian communities here in the tri-state area, who sometimes only promote (Coastal Dances), Marinera Nortena and Festejo dances...and forget of the hundred and hundreds of andean danzas that exist all over Peru
” - Daniela Cornejo “Congratulations, loved it! I'm proud to be part of this wonderful effort. Thanks for doing all this for Peru! Un beso a todo el team!” - Susana de la Puente “I am so ecstatically happy to see this. I remember very well the day we all got to see Cynthia Paniagua perform at at ICPNA in Piura,Peru. She is a fine dancer who devotes all her time and energy to represent her ancestry and with great enthusiasm. It’s great to see all of you continuing this tradition...Good Luck! And God Bless each an every one of you.
” - Arlene F. Lavé “I watched your film with my sister and my stepmom and we all loved it. We all felt very nostalgic, in a sweet way. It's a nostalgic film. But a nice outlook towards the future as well.” - Alonso Llosa “I really enjoyed the way it captured Peru and the culture. Sure made me want to visit!
” - Hunter Weeks “I came upon this great video by chance. Seeing the clips filled my heart with longing and memories of people demonstrating their sentiments through their dances and music. Bravo!” - Jorge Salazar, President, Peruvian-American Association “Muchas gracias por seguir trabajando por nuestra cultura andina y en especial por la mujer andina. Somos tu fans!
” - Maruja Silva Cruz “Hola Nelida - Acabo de enterarme de tu impresionante carrera a traves de un documental en la TV. Soy Peruana, tambien profundamente identificada con nuestras raices, especialmente como las describio arguedas y tu la estas mostrando al mundo. Me encuentro en San antonio, TX. Lamento haber dejado NY, me hubiera gustado conocer tu ballet folklorico. En lo que pueda colaborar en tus misiones a Peru, sera un gran placer. Soy enfermera y mi esposo, tambien peruano, "serrano" y folklorista esta haciendo un entrenamiento en cardiologia. Muchos exitos y espero algun dia podamos conocernos.
” - Magaly Bailon “on PBS! I just love this film! If you love dance and cultural exchange, this is a great film!!!
” - Dede Cummings “No sabes lo orgulloso que me siento de tu pelicula que ya es propiedad de la gente que la ve” - Lolo Lamas, Cosas (Lima, Peru) “Thank you so much for "Soy Andina" -- It was wonderful! I grew up in a Martha Graham dance tradition, and the film brought up so many maternal and spiritual waves. it really made me think about the umbilical cord link of dance traditions. What a blessing, and a gift.
” - Susan Brislin “Even as they come to their shared Andean culture from distinctly different starting points, "Soy Andina" lovingly captures two women's embrace of their culture and the empowering friendship which emerges between them as a result. Nelida, the older, was raised in Perú and carries the passion of preserving the traditions and folkloric expressions of the village which she has known since her childhood. Cynthia comes initially to her parents' Peruvian culture through her innate love of dance, and this stimulates her interest to learn Peruvian dances as a participant. As a result of a scholarship allowing her to study in Perú, Cynthia's "genetic cultural memory" is awakened and she blossoms into the Andean woman previously lying dormant within her.
For me, the film powerfully demonstrates the tension inherent within cultural preservation. If we approach "culture" as a static reality, that is, expressions which are fixed and therefore should not be invaded upon, adjusted, or changed in any way, we are far more likely to resist any force with seems to be changing it, either intentionally or not. However, if we view culture in a more dynamic manner, seeing expressions as flexible interpretations of core values held, we are more likely to not be threatened by the changes we observe in the expressions. The defining moment of the film occurs when Nelida objects to the folklore band playing cumbia instead of folklore music in the village's annual celebration. For her, the modern has invaded upon the traditional, and this is tantamount to treason. At the core, she fears the loss of her culture and is fighting to preserve it.
Soy Andina, while showing Peruvian culture, actually demonstrates the power which culture and its expressions hold in our lives. Without denying its Peruvian basis, Soy Andina is a mirror into our deeper beliefs of what it is to be human and a member of something larger than ourselves, our families, and our clans.” - Walt Gangwere, Social Studies teacher; editor, Historymania “I see it fills people with the joy of being alive – quite a gift for a film to be able to convey. Your film is going to put it's palm print on the face of the world.” - Beret Strong, filmmaker “Thanks so much for bringing your wonderful film to the Jacob Burns Center. A real glimpse into a life and culture we'd never be able to experience....” - Lois Dino, Jacob Burns Film Center “I really enjoyed your film because this a universal story of every migrant to a new country, and also of children of migrants who sometimes struggle to find their identities. I am Peruvian myself and know that SOY ANDINA is being shown in different parts of the country, so i congratulate you for telling Nelida's and Cynthia's story.” - Lidia Luna, Sydney Latín American Film Festival “I enjoyed it very much. I was carried by the music, the dancing and the characters....a work of love and it really shows!"
” - Tamara Rosenberg, Wide Angle | WNET “una bella pieza de arte, que llena de orgullo a todos los peruanos” - Carmen Guevara “Wow, what an amazing piece you and your editor and team created - a lovely, beautiful, strong movie! Your characters - very strong, clear and likeable. The dancing!! The amazing people we meet along the way in the pueblos...exquisite editing.” - Kathy Leichter, filmmaker “Packed with rhythm, music and color
” - James van Maanen, GreenCine “A gem! Left me starving for more
” - Yelena M. Rivera Vale, WIPR-TV, Puerto Rico “One of those movies that will change your point of view about some things in life. You and your movie have brought so many people together!” - Corali “A great film, with a great message... I must share this with my spanish class
” - Ninosca Perez