Arts and Entertainment

Faculty member's child-poverty short documentary wins best director at festival

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A documentary short by a Penn State faculty member won Best Director in the Green section of the NEZ International Film Festival in West Bengal, India.

Assistant Professor Boaz Dvir’s “El País de la Eterna Primavera (Land of the Eternal Spring)” also recently won Best Micro Film at a monthly online competition in Santiago, Chile; was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the Motion Pictures Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah; and was a finalist at the Silver Screen International Film Festival in Tampa, Florida.

Directed, produced and filmed by Dvir, who teaches journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, “El País” shows photojournalist Jason Henry (The New York Times, Vice) and writer Erik Maza (Town & Country, Baltimore Sun) visiting Guatemala’s most infamous landfill, Teculután.

At Teculután, Dvir filmed Henry and Maza trying to maintain their composure as they photographed and observed children searching for shreds of sustenance in a monstrous heap of human and animal waste and burning ash.

“It’s a scene of extreme contrasts,” Dvir said. “Children rampage through what I can only describe as smoke-spewing toxic garbage against a backdrop of the beautiful Sierra de las Minas mountains.”

“There’s no time in this four-minute, child-poverty short to provide any answers, only raise questions,” said Dvir, who has directed several award-winning full-length documentaries, including “Jessie’s Dad” and “A Wing and a Prayer.”

Edited by Penn State film-video alumnus Allan Guerrero, “El País” showcases Henry’s striking Teculután photographs. Henry and Maza were enrolled in an international journalism class at the University of Florida, where Dvir taught before joining the faculty at Penn State.

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Last Updated June 02, 2021