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PLASMA screening of 90 MILES with filmmaker and Visiting Professor Juan Carlos Zaldívar

February 6, 2023 @ 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

The Department of Media Study’s PLASMA (Performances, Lectures, And Screenings in Media Art) ​series kicks off their season with a screening of Visiting Professor Juan Carlos Zaldívar’s award-winning documentary film 90 MILES (2001). Zaldívar will join us for Q and A after the screening.

In 90 MILES (2001), Cuban-American filmmaker Juan Carlos Zaldívar, recounts the strange twist of fate that propelled his family to risk their lives across one of the world’s most treacherous stretches of water. The 53-minute film was broadcast nationally on PBS/POV and has screened internationally garnering Best Documentary Awards at the Havana Film Festival and the NY Latino Film Festival. A quest to piece together the twists–and consequences–of a family’s journey into exile, 90 MILES chronicles a search for understanding and healing between father and son. Uncovering the emotional distance opened by the 90 miles of water between Cuba and the U.S., Zaldívar’s film illuminates the psychological ramifications of immigration within our personal identities and in the psyche of Americans. 90 MILES resonates all around the world as a beacon of healing for any person who has lived through political conflict. For a preview – listen to Zaldívar in the episode “Welcome to America” from This American Life.


This documentary contains some Spanish with English subtitles.


Juan Carlos Zaldívar joins UB’s Department of Media Study this semester as a Visiting Professor. Born in Cuba, they moved to the US in 1980 and have been working as a filmmaker and multi-media artist since then.  Their directing credits include “90 Miles” (PBS), “The Story of the Red Rose” (Showtime), “Palingenesis” and “Soldiers Pay'” (IFC). In 2018, Zaldivar co-directed the VR doc entitled “SwampScapes” with Elizabeth Miller and Kim Grinfeder. At present, they are working on a cross-platform project that aims to reframe how we look at dementia. A project that includes a limited-series podcast, a documentary, and a VR community screening tour, this work has received support from The Warhol Foundation, Locust Projects in Miami, and Oolite Arts.  For more information about Zaldívar and their work see


As always, PLASMA lectures are free and open to the UB community and the public.​

PLASMA is sponsored by the University at Buffalo’s Department of Media Study and funding is provided by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The series is taught and organized by Dr. Paige Sarlin, Assistant Professor of Media Study, in collaboration with Sylvie Fortin, UB Art Gallery, Ekrem Serdar, and Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center.

For access to the zoom link and password for the series, email with PLASMA 2023 in the subject line.


February 6, 2023
6:15 pm - 8:15 pm


Dept of Media Study


112 Center for the Arts (Screening Room)