In honor of Pride Month, Hostos Community College screened award-winning filmmaker Joelle González–Laguer’s short documentary “CHAKALMEX” Tuesday, June 22, 2021, as part of the College’s Veladas Hostosiana/ Hostos Culture Talks series.
Born and raised in Isabela, Puerto Rico, González–Laguer is a Hostos alumnus, filmmaker, President of Loka Productions Films, and lecturer in the College’s Behavioral Social Sciences department. His filmography to date includes nine films, including “CHAKALMEX,” which explores themes of sex, socioeconomic status, and race within Mexico “Chacales” subculture and how the group of indigenous, working-class men are regarded within the local gay community.
Ahead of the screening, González–Laguer shared he first heard the term “Chacal” through an acquaintance duringChakalmex poster a visit to Mexico City in 2017.  “I've never heard this word before, even though I speak Spanish. It immediately trigger my imagination,” he said. 
Intrigued, he thought, “This is a story that we need to tell.”
He began researching the group shortly thereafter and collaborated with the Gender Commission of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to film and produce the documentary. González–Laguer had the honor of showcasing the completed film at UNAM in October 2019 and ‘CHAKALMEX’ has also been screened at the 10th Oaxaca Film Fest, where the film was a semi-finalist in the New Industry Short Documentary category.
Peter Mertens, Interim Dean of Continuing Education & Workforce Development, moderated a discussion following the screening for which Professor Victor M. Torres-Vélez, who teaches in College’s Humanities Department, joined Laguer-González in conversation. The event also featured a reading in English and Spanish from Gisela Kozak, novelist and storyteller, of her text “Passion.”
In her remarks, Interim President Daisy Cocco De Filippis noted the College has been a longtime ally of the LGBTQ+ community, and she said she was delighted the College was “able to showcase the wonderful talent that we have,” and “celebrating Pride Month in such a spectacular way.”
Watch the Veladas Hostosiana/ Hostos Culture Talks presentation of “CHAKALMEX” on our YouTube channel here.