La Carpa

Director: Carlos Avila
Screenwriters: Carlos Avila, Edit Villarreal

Institute History

  • 1993 Sundance Film Festival


This program is playing out of competition.

La Carpa reclaims the significance of a nearly forgotten aspect of Chicanol/Latino cultural history, the existence of traveling theatre groups called carpas. With colorful tents and costumes, these family-run, threadbare extravaganzas roamed the Southwest, bringing entertainment to Chicano laborers and their families. Avila takes a historical look at a day in the life of a carpa as it rolls into Florencia, a small town in rural southern California. The time is 1938. Ramiro Cesares, a young campesino (farm worker), witnesses the shooting of his best friend by the sheriff's young deputy. Attempting to maintain the status quo, the Mexican American mayor refuses to take a stand, and Ramiro is targeted for deportation.

Exposing the struggles of immigrant laborers and the often-difficult and exploitative circumstances in which they work, La Carpa is a passionate story about the transforming powers this spirited band of performers brings to the life of a town.

Monday Jan 25 7:30 pm
Holiday Village Cinema III

Wednesday Jan 27 1:00 pm
Egyptian Theatre

Sunday Jan 28 8:00 pm
Sundance Screening Room


— John Cooper

Screening Details

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