Gabriel Duran is a multi-award-winning narrative filmmaker from Wichita Falls but has sustained most of his career in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
He is the president and founder of FDCLA (Festival de Cine Latino Americano), a nonprofit organization and DFW’s largest international Latino Film Festival. FDCLA was established in 2015, and to this day, the festival continues to springboard quality films from all over Latin America into the forefront.
Gabriel is also the co-founder of Vivid Vita Events LLC. V.V.E was established in 2018 and focused on Latino-based events such as Fiesta Charra and FDCLA. Fiesta Charra is a charreada and music series event held annually in Lewisville, TX.
Mr. Duran is also an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the Media Arts department, where he teaches screenwriting and film production classes in narrative filmmaking. Gabriel strives to connect the local community with Latino-based arts.
Born and raised in South Texas, Marielena Resendiz (MEHR-ee-uh-LAY-nuh ree-SEHN-deez) made her way to Denton in 1997 and became a part of the University of North Texas staff.
Marielena has served as the mentor, festival & event coordinator for Media Arts and has produced many events to promote student outreach. She works with incoming students allowing them to have opportunities in workshops, and productions before they are actual majors in our department. She’s done such a great job working with these students that she received a Student Success Award from the university.
Marielena also serves as the Festival’s Executive Producer for the annual Festival de Cine Latino Americano (FDCLA). a nonprofit organization and DFW’s largest international Latino Film Festival. FDCLA was established in 2015, and to this day, the festival continues to springboard quality films from all over Latin America into the forefront.
DR. JENNIFER GÓMEZ MENJÍVAR
Dr. Jennifer Gómez Menjívar’s research interests include Indigenous Sovereignty Media, Latin American and Latinx Media, Grassroots and Participatory Media Practices, Cinematic Adaptation, Digital Culture, Critical Theory, and Media Linguistics. She holds a Ph.D. in Latin/x American Cultural Studies from The Ohio State University, and her scholarly training is in the production, circulation, and reception of texts, from traditional print to contemporary digital. For the last several years, her research has been concerned with how Indigenous and Black communities use new media to challenge the typical discussions of minority communities as disenfranchised and powerless. These projects are concerned with how phenomena like hashtag movements, TikTok journalism, YouTube videos, Twitter memes, and Facebook groups are increasingly necessary in concrete undertakings such as autonomy and self-governance, language revitalization, minority entrepreneurship, and grassroots organizing.
She came to UNT with more than 18 years of teaching experience at the college level, along with a history of service to the profession, and life experiences that include internships at the UNECE in Geneva, Switzerland, and the UNDP in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. In her free time, she enjoys cheering for her boys at their Little League games and listening to true crime podcasts.
DR. ROSALVA RESENDIZ
Rosalva Resendiz holds a Ph.D. in sociology/social (dis)organization theory from Texas Woman’s University. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, previously known as the University of Texas-Pan American. Dr. Resendiz identifies as Chicanx indigenous mestiza, focusing on social justice, critical criminology, critical race theory, decoloniality, postcolonial studies, Chicana
feminism, Mexican American/Border Studies, and organized crime.
She recently co-edited Criminology Throughout History: Critical Readings (2021) and Gender, Crime & Justice: Critical and Feminist Perspectives (2021). She also has a co-authored book chapter in BIPOC Alliances: Building Communities and Curricula (2022): “Reclaiming Our Indigeneity: Deconstructing Settler Myths within Our Family.”
She is also involved in media arts, having co-produced and co-directed the documentary El Muro|The Wall (2017) with her nephew Dr. Ramon Resendiz. The film foregrounds the story of a Lipan Apache Elder’s resistance to building the border wall on her ancestral lands on the Texas/Mexico border. She has also assisted as a producer on a documentary short by Director Abbey Hoekzema, an Associate Professor from Georgia Southern University. The documentary short, Migrant was screened at various film festivals in 2019.
This past academic year, she was invited to organize the National Association for Chicana/Chicano Studies-Tejas Foco Conference held on March 23-25th, 2023, in Brownsville, Texas. The conference theme focused on “Confronting/Resisting the Colonizer Within: A History of Violence, Discrimination/Oppression and Shame.” She is also the NACCS Tejas Foco Caucus Chair, and most currently, she is co-editing a special issue for the Rio Bravo Journal on “Inter/weaving, Inter/lacing Consciousness & Resistance: Decolonizing Practices, Intersectionality & Aesthetics.”
SILVIA PATRICIA SOLÍS
Silvia Patricia Solís is a lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Programs and Community Engagement, where she currently teaches Environmental Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Mexican American Studies. She is the Art Editor of Frontiers: A Journal of Women’ Studies published by The University of Nebraska Press. Solís also produces and is the co-host of The Feminist Hour/La Hora Feminista on Vaquero Radio, UTRGV’s student station.
Solís was born in Heroica Matamoros, Tamaulipas, then later moved to Brownsville, Texas, with her family. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education with a focus on Anthropology of Education from the University of Utah in 2020.
Her research expands on land and place-based epistemologies, pedagogies, and methodologies by tracing saberes curativos, knowing, and practices people hold in relation to taking care and curing within family and community. It centers the feminism, intergenerational learning, remembering, and everyday practices in the home and gardens of Indigenous, Black, and Afro-descendant peoples in the Mesoamerican diaspora living along the U.S. Mexico border. U.S. Women of color feminists, Indigenous feminists, and Decolonial feminists are at the center of her theoretical foundations.
Kat recently graduated from the University of North Texas with her MFA in Documentary Production and Media Studies. She is a daughter of Mexican immigrants and carries her cultural pride into her works. Her ultimate goal as a storyteller is to tell meaningful stories in unforgettable ways.
So far, she has written and directed the documentary Se Me Ha Dado, a film and love letter to her father, which screened at the North Texas Universities Film Festival in 2022. Her current work includes a second documentary, Doble Identidad, an experimental self-reflexive piece about the complexities of biculturalism.
She became involved with FDCLA-Norte as an intern in 2022 and has now become an active committee member. Her primary responsibility is updating and managing the FDCLA-Norte official website.