Reel Talk brings together Westmont faculty, staff, and students to discuss important films and contemporary issues. Movie screenings precede discussions facilitated by college faculty and staff. Unless otherwise noted, Reel Talk events are free and open to the Westmont community.


Fall 2016 Screenings

Who is Dayani Cristal?"Who is Dayani Cristal?"

with participants in the 2016 US Border Immersion Faculty Seminar, hosted by Mark Sargent

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 7:00pm

Adams 216


Since 2001, more than 2,100 people have died attempting to cross the Sonora Desert into Arizona. "Who is Daynia Cristal?" takes viewers inside this brutal, often dehumanizing experience, tracing the journey of one young Guatamalan father who migrates north in search of money to care for a sick child. In a film that combines documentary and dramatic approaches, actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal embeds himself on the Central American migrant trail, learning what it might have been like for this man who died, anonymously, in Arizona's "corridor of death." Politics aside, the filmmakers argue, the volume of mortality in the desert demands a response. Following the film, Provost Mark Sargent hosts a conversation with participants in Westmont's 2016 Border Experience Faculty Mayterm.




with Cynthia Toms and Sameer Yadav, hosted by Mark Sargent


Thursday, October 27, 2016, 7:00pm

Porter Theatre


Last year's "Zootopia" treats in a lighthearted way some fairly heavy themes: difference, fear, and violence. That these troubling subjects are fair game for a talking-animal movie might say something interesting about American society's sensibilities in an age marred by terror and demagoguery. Following the film, Mark Sargent hosts conversation with Sameer Yadav (Religious Studies) and Cynthia Toms (Kinesiology). This event is cosponsored by Westmont's Office of Campus Life as part of Focus Week 2016, which examines at length issues of diversity and immigration.




with Tim Van Haitsma and Eileen McMahon McQuade, hosted by Aaron Sizer


Thursday, December 1, 2016, 7:00pm

Porter Theater


In social media, in the college and career process, in a burgeoning genetics field--the idea that precise engineering of our lives is possible and desirable has achieved unprecedented power. The dystopian thriller "Gattaca" imagines a world in which such engineering has produced a race of ideal human specimens (think Uma Thurman and Jude Law), a new norm by which all lesser beings (think Ethan Hawke) are judged. In a society devoted to a very narrow vision of perfection, Hawke's character struggles to realize a sense of worth and identity--indeed, to steal it. Following the film, the Gaede Institute's Aaron Sizer hosts a conversation with Eileen McMahon, professor of biology and a specialist in human genetics, and Tim Van Haitsma, professor of kinesiology.