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Hudson Valley Press

September 19th, 2012

Howland center set to screen boxing film “Imagining Mina”

BEACON - The Howland Cultural Center is currently celebrating National Hispanic-American Heritage Month during the month of September. In addition to an art exhibition featuring fifteen Latino-American artists from right here in the Hudson Valley, the Center will be hosting a rare New York area screening of “Imagining Mina”, the critically-acclaimed documentary by Beacon-based director Alfredo Bejar.The film, which explores the life of the great 1960s Peruvian boxer Mauro Mina, will be shown on Friday, September 28, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Bejar has created a story-driven, multi-layered film that follows Mina’s dramatic life and career - from the cotton fields of rural Peru to Lima, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, and Madison Square Garden.

Through the use of newly recorded images and rare archival materials, the feature-length film transports the viewer back to mid-20th century Latin America as it analyses issues of class, race, the role of the media, and the often curious politics of the boxing industry.

By the time he arrived in New York in 1962, Mauro Mina was considered one of the best light-heavyweight fighters in the world despite fighting exclusively in South America - a category then dominated by U.S. boxers.

Mina had been orphaned at a young age, became a child worker, and struggled as a young man before becoming a professional boxer. As his career and fame progressed, he became the toast of Lima and a national symbol in a fragmented society. On the verge of becoming the first Latino light-heavyweight champion, some of the same forces that had propelled Mina to the top would conspire against him.

Dozens of people from many walks of life were interviewed for this film, including friends, historians, journalists, family members, and boxing greats. Participants include legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, Jose “Chegul” Torres, and Bob Foster. Mr. Foster was one of the many legendary U.S. pugilists - known as the “yanquis” - who travelled to Peru seeking better opportunities.  Their experiences are just one part of this fascinating but forgotten chapter of South American, Peruvian, and world boxing history.

This inspiring yet bittersweet story is a film for boxing fans and non-boxing fans alike.

Said author Mike Silver about the fascinating documentary, “This is a film of passion and insight about a fighter and his times.”

“What a treat!” said Elena Villanueva of Washington, D.C. “Excellent weaving of the story with so many facts and real photos. Strongly recommended.”

Tickets to the viewing of Imagining Mina will be available at the door. Alfredo Bejar will be present on the night of the screening to discuss the film with attendees and answer questions from the audience.

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