Thousands around the world will celebrate with Chile

Fondas, film festivals, dinners and exhibitions are among the many activities taking place on five continents

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Places as far and wide as Miami, Shanghai, Hamburg and Melbourne will experience a piece of Chile this month.

Bicentennial celebrations are underway across the globe as Chilean expats get together to celebrate 200 years as an independent nation.

Events to mark the celebrations are happening at least in 49 countries on five continents, including Venezuela, Jamaica, Romania, Morocco, Syria, Singapore and New Zealand, with a range of events to spread the Chilean culture including concerts, art exhibits, monument unveilings, film festivals and of course, fiestas.

Here are the highlights from three of the big festivals.

Miami

In Miami the bicentenary is a landmark moment for Chilean cinema as four films make their United States premiere at Miami Dade College’s Tower Theater during Cine! Chilean Film Festival 2010.

From September 10-16, viewers are being treated to The Gift (“El regalo”), a comedy by Cristián Galaz and Andrea Ugalde; Teresa, a biographical drama directed by Tatiana Gaviola; A Stop Away From You  (“A un metro de ti”), a Chilean-Spanish romantic comedy directed by Daniel Henríquez; and Red Eyes (“Ojos rojos”), a documentary on the Chilean soccer team, by Juan Ignacio Sabatini, Juan Pablo Sallato, and Ismael Larraín.

“One film, A Stop Away From You, is going to be shown here before it is shown in Chile,” said an excited Emilia Anguita Huerta, the Chilean-born, Miami-based event-organizer, filmmaker, film and television director and author of award-winning short films. “There are a lot of expectations from our community. People are really looking forward to watching the films and there is a lot of anticipation.”

Huerta is president of Andromeda Productions, which will be opening an office in Santiago in the next two months, she says, to offer marketing services to Chilean companies wanting to promote themselves abroad.

Away from the cinema, the 9th Festival Chileno will provide plenty of activities – including a “biggest empanada” cooking competition on the 5th, a bicentennial gala on the 18th and the festival itself on the 19th.

“It is going to be exciting here,” Huerta said. “Miami is very much like a home away from home.  Also, we are in the middle of everywhere so everyone stops here even if they are going to other destinations. It is like a place where everybody meets.”

Germany

In Germany, Bicentennial events started back in July. Chile and Germany have had a special relationship over more than 160 years and it is being recognized in Germany with various activities.

Already, in the city of Calau, where the first German families to migrate to Chile lived, they have had a fiesta and opened a new museum with an exhibit of Carlos Anwandter, one of the first to migrate to Valdivia, Chile, who founded a volunteer fire company, a school and a brewery.

On the 28th, poetry rained from the sky when a helicopter flew over the plaza Lustgarten in Berlin and dropped 100,000 leaflets with a selection of Chilean and German poetry.

“Germany and Chile are traditionally united both by history and by their economic and cultural relations,” said Jorge Schindler, Cultural Attache of Chile in Berlin. “There is also an active relationship of scientific and technological exchange and also Chilean Ph.D. students in this country.”

On September 18, Potsdam will open a new “Plaza Chile”, unveiling a sculpture there – the “Nach Vorn” by Chilean artist by Alejandra Ruddolf.

Australia

In Australia, where there are around 33,000 first and second generation Chileans, everyone will be feeling like they are home on September 18 and 19 at the Chilean Latin American Festival at the Sandown Entertainment Centre.

“When you come to the venue, you come to Chile,” said Miguel Santana, the event’s manager, born in Chile and the founder of non-profit organization Latin American Friendship.

With funding from local governments and the community along with ticket sales, the event will cost 210,000 Australian dollars (US$187,000) and will feature fireworks, international salsa and folk groups, helicopter rides and arts and crafts for children.

More than 30,000 people are expected to attend but less than half of those will pay, as children, seniors, the disabled and clubs receive free tickets.

Santana, 58, who moved to Australia in 1989, said that he has been planning the annual event since last year. He expects Chileans from other states in Australia and even from New Zealand to attend to celebrate the country’s bicentennial.

“This is the place I call home, without forgetting my roots, my culture and my people,” he said.

For information on specific events happening in your country, visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile

This post is also available in Spanish