Film School Welcomes Puerto Rican Filmmaker to Faculty
New to the College of Motion Picture Arts faculty in 2018, Marisol Gómez-Mouakad began teaching editing in the spring. After a semester of teaching here at Florida State, Gómez-Mouakad says that the students and faculty are what set the program apart. “The students are so invested in their projects, and the faculty is really dedicated. The emphasis on a hands-on approach to filmmaking is another major strength.” Her first semester she worked with first-year MFA students, and then in summer started teaching an editing seminar for rising BFA seniors. In class, she stresses to her student editors their storytelling responsibilities. “Editing is when the story finally comes together. It would be hard to tell these stories through film without editing.”
After earning her MA in Media Studies at the New School in New York, Gómez-Mouakad taught at Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Glendale Community College in California; University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Atlantic College in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. While she’s primarily focused on editing here at FSU, she wrote, directed, produced, and edited a feature narrative film, Angélica, which premiered in 2017 at the Curacao International Film Festival Rotterdam. Since its premiere, Angélica has screened at the New York Latino Film Festival, Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Chicago Latino Film Festival, and the Bentonville Film Festival, among other selected screenings.
Angélica, which was Gómez-Mouakad’s directorial debut, addresses the colorism that a young afro-descendant woman faces in Puerto Rico. The film also touches upon the denial of racism and sexism that can be experienced throughout the Caribbean. Gómez-Mouakad believes that viewers need to see and understand how these prejudices affect individuals in order to start a dialogue and generate change. “People talk about racism and sexism in the U.S.,” Gómez-Mouakad explains. “They may not do much, but in talking about it they are at least addressing the problem. In Puerto Rico – and across the Caribbean and Latin America – there is a lot of denial.”
Currently, Gómez-Mouakad is developing Caribbean Nomads, a documentary that investigates communities displaced by natural disaster, which is then exacerbated by adverse economic conditions in their homeland. The communities now face new challenges in the places they have relocated. She was inspired to tell this story after experiencing the trauma of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the aftermath in Puerto Rico.