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Reactions from the Audience

“A great movie!”
- Blanca Ochoa, Cultural Attaché Embassy of Peru
“My mother and I had the wonderful pleasure of taking a coastal trip from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to see the screening of "Soy Andina." La pelicula hizo revivir muchos bellos momentos. This is definitely a fabulous piece of Peruvian culture. My mom is serrana from a little town called Apata in between Jauja and Huancayo, and she connected with everything Nelida experienced. I, as well, was able to relate to Cynthia's being a first-generation American. I really enjoyed it and shed a few tears of joy. It captivated & educated everyone in the theatre that Latinos are not just all about "techo-cumbia." ”
- June & Rosie Fonseca Munoz
“For 70 minutes we were marvelously transported to the sights and sounds of the Andes. What a treat! What a sensory and emotional journey! Congratulations on a superb documentary!”
- Judy R.
“Soy Andina is joyful and moving -- a true celebration of Peruvian culture through dance, captured on film! ”
- Charlotte Von Hemert, International Latino Film Festival
“It was great to see Soy Andina again (in Madison) -- it's the kind of movie you can watch several times and never get bored, because of the strong emotional side. ”
- Eduardo Delfino
“Fantastic for both adults and children...The film contributes to better understanding and appreciate the cultural roots of many immigrants in the USA, not only Latinos, and serves as entertainment as well as an educational tool!”
- Gigi Pedraza, Inca Kids, Fair Trade and Sustainable Living
“I had no idea how many types of dancing we have. I have never seen so many happy faces and how our people have an inner innocence, no matter how old. I remember when I was a little girl going to family reunions, and everyone danced, including my mother. I was embarrassed, but those events keep the family together. I am so happy that I was born in such an amazing country, and that I am going back again.”
- Aidahalluska
“I saw where the film is going to be shown through PBS and am very impressed. Wow, that is a wonderful thing you are sharing with so many people. ”
- Mariella marredon, Indiana U.
“I saw this group of colorfully dressed Peruvians marching in the gay pride parade and thought -- all these men dressed like Nelida! ”
- Cindy Arlinsky
“What a satisfying end to many years of hard work. It was worth the wait. Anyone who has ever been curious about where their family came from, or who has had to leave their family to pursue opportunity, will relate to this film. Learning about Peruvian culture and dance was fascinating, and knowing these two amazing women has enriched my life. Congratulations on this great accomplishment.”
- Nancy Barber, Oscar-nominated editor
“Your film was great. We all loved it. It is great to walk out of movie and actually feel good. Keep up the good work. ”
- Caroline (Cape Cod)
“I just finished watching Soy Andina on KCET (Los Angeles), and must say you have a lot to be proud of. It was a long journey and you did a wonderful have given from your heart and there is nothing stronger. Allow the film to flow as a wonderful gift to those who see it. − Dalia Allon-Meeter ”
- Dalia Allon-Meeter
“Tthank you for this movie -- it reminded me of my passion in life. Watching it has been an overwhelming inspiration to just go after what I want. ”
- Christina Zaluca
“Congratulations Mitch -- I went to your premiere at LA Latin American FF and I was very moved and proud to see your work natural and well presented. ”
- Mario Ledesma
“Hopefully this movie will teach others and also empower Peruvian-Americans who are sometimes ignorant or embarrassed of Peruvian culture. It is sad to me when I see peruvian communities here in the tri-state area, who sometimes only promote (Coastal Dances), Marinera Nortena and Festejo dances...and forget of the hundred and hundreds of andean danzas that exist all over Peru ”
- Daniela Cornejo
“Congratulations, loved it! I'm proud to be part of this wonderful effort. Thanks for doing all this for Peru! Un beso a todo el team!”
- Susana de la Puente
“I am so ecstatically happy to see this. I remember very well the day we all got to see Cynthia Paniagua perform at at ICPNA in Piura,Peru. She is a fine dancer who devotes all her time and energy to represent her ancestry and with great enthusiasm. It’s great to see all of you continuing this tradition...Good Luck! And God Bless each an every one of you. ”
- Arlene F. Lavé
“I watched your film with my sister and my stepmom and we all loved it. We all felt very nostalgic, in a sweet way. It's a nostalgic film. But a nice outlook towards the future as well.”
- Alonso Llosa
“I really enjoyed the way it captured Peru and the culture. Sure made me want to visit! ”
- Hunter Weeks
“I came upon this great video by chance. Seeing the clips filled my heart with longing and memories of people demonstrating their sentiments through their dances and music. Bravo!”
- Jorge Salazar, President, Peruvian-American Association
“on PBS! I just love this film! If you love dance and cultural exchange, this is a great film!!! ”
- Dede Cummings
“Thank you so much for "Soy Andina" -- It was wonderful! I grew up in a Martha Graham dance tradition, and the film brought up so many maternal and spiritual waves. it really made me think about the umbilical cord link of dance traditions. What a blessing, and a gift. ”
- Susan Brislin
“Even as they come to their shared Andean culture from distinctly different starting points, "Soy Andina" lovingly captures two women's embrace of their culture and the empowering friendship which emerges between them as a result. Nelida, the older, was raised in Perú and carries the passion of preserving the traditions and folkloric expressions of the village which she has known since her childhood. Cynthia comes initially to her parents' Peruvian culture through her innate love of dance, and this stimulates her interest to learn Peruvian dances as a participant. As a result of a scholarship allowing her to study in Perú, Cynthia's "genetic cultural memory" is awakened and she blossoms into the Andean woman previously lying dormant within her. For me, the film powerfully demonstrates the tension inherent within cultural preservation. If we approach "culture" as a static reality, that is, expressions which are fixed and therefore should not be invaded upon, adjusted, or changed in any way, we are far more likely to resist any force with seems to be changing it, either intentionally or not. However, if we view culture in a more dynamic manner, seeing expressions as flexible interpretations of core values held, we are more likely to not be threatened by the changes we observe in the expressions. The defining moment of the film occurs when Nelida objects to the folklore band playing cumbia instead of folklore music in the village's annual celebration. For her, the modern has invaded upon the traditional, and this is tantamount to treason. At the core, she fears the loss of her culture and is fighting to preserve it. Soy Andina, while showing Peruvian culture, actually demonstrates the power which culture and its expressions hold in our lives. Without denying its Peruvian basis, Soy Andina is a mirror into our deeper beliefs of what it is to be human and a member of something larger than ourselves, our families, and our clans.”
- Walt Gangwere, Social Studies teacher; editor, Historymania
“I see it fills people with the joy of being alive – quite a gift for a film to be able to convey. Your film is going to put it's palm print on the face of the world.”
- Beret Strong, filmmaker
“Thanks so much for bringing your wonderful film to the Jacob Burns Center. A real glimpse into a life and culture we'd never be able to experience....”
- Lois Dino, Jacob Burns Film Center
“I really enjoyed your film because this a universal story of every migrant to a new country, and also of children of migrants who sometimes struggle to find their identities. I am Peruvian myself and know that SOY ANDINA is being shown in different parts of the country, so i congratulate you for telling Nelida's and Cynthia's story.”
- Lidia Luna, Sydney Latín American Film Festival
“I enjoyed it very much. I was carried by the music, the dancing and the characters....a work of love and it really shows!" ”
- Tamara Rosenberg, Wide Angle | WNET
“Wow, what an amazing piece you and your editor and team created - a lovely, beautiful, strong movie! Your characters - very strong, clear and likeable. The dancing!! The amazing people we meet along the way in the pueblos...exquisite editing.”
- Kathy Leichter, filmmaker
“Packed with rhythm, music and color ”
- James van Maanen, GreenCine
“A gem! Left me starving for more ”
- Yelena M. Rivera Vale, WIPR-TV, Puerto Rico
“One of those movies that will change your point of view about some things in life. You and your movie have brought so many people together!”
- Corali
“A great film, with a great message... I must share this with my spanish class ”
- Ninosca Perez
“This documentary reached my heart and my soul. It was so touching to be able to connect with Cynthia. I was also raised in Queens, NY and frequented Pio pop restaurant as well. I am of Colombian and Greek decent and began dancing at the age of three. Folkloric dancing was always my main style of dance. Folkloric dance and its music is such an important connection to my roots and culture that I felt chills watching Cynthia do it in such a profound way. Thank you Cynthia for doing this to represent us new York Latinas in a new light. You are so awesome! ”
- Joanna Cardona
“It was great! We loved your finished product with its great photography, dancing, and interesting story line.”
- Robert Schweich
“Congrats!! Your movie is on FIRE!! ”
- Cheryl Furjanic
“I was truly moved by your lovely story. It was amazingly multi-layered - and honestly and seamlessly told. These talents will have a place in the commercial world - so take the next step! ”
- Patty O'Brien
“I am grateful for Soy Andina. It's so needed for all of us to remember and nurture Andean culture. Our ancestors bless you always in your every day journey.”
- Angela Paucer
“I am convinced that Soy Andina will contribute to a better understanding and appreciation of the cultural roots of many immigrants in the USA, who often lose their face and just become a 'Latino.'”
- Mariska van Walsen, executive director, Warmayllu (Peruvian arts education NGO)
“There were more than 300 people at the Soy Andina event; their enthusiastic response left no doubt that the filmmaker knows his audience ”
- Julia Pimsleur, co-founder,
“The film is beautiful, as are the stars. They are so articulate, honest and joyful. The joy of celebrating in Peru is something basic and raw and delightful that we don't often see in the US. ”
- Stuart Baker
“There are no films that I can think of that portray the richness and joy of Andean traditions as does Soy honest portrait of Andean culture that also captures the complex and tense relationships that extend onward to Lima and even New York”
- Ross Wehner, Moon Handbooks Peru
“An important film about the miracle of intercultural integration in a globalized age ”
- Ambassador Oswaldo de Rivero, Mission of Peru to the United Nations
“We loved it! It was wonderful, very touching and sweet. ”
- Heather Haugland
“BRAVO Mitch!! The film was fabulous. A fantastic night...thank you! I can't wait to tell all my friends in Seattle to go to your website and buy a copy of this movie. Having Nelida dance was a very nice addition to seeing the movie. It is obvious that you've made a lot of Peruvians proud (as well as New Yorkers, I'm sure).”
- Denice Fountaine
“I saw the documentary on PBS last night. Cynthia is mesmerizing, and the story is transformational ”
- Jeff Frant
“The dancers look ecstatic — totally in the moment and in their bodies. Beautiful! ”
- Marjorie Nass
“I love Soy Andina!!!! ”
- Gail Imel,
“I loved it! ”
- Tim Lloyd, American Folklore Society
“What a wonderful gift to the world! Projects like Soy Andina reach deep into the wellspring of indigenous culture that dissolves boundaries and connects us all.”
- Eric Crosby
“When we come to the US, it is very easy to lose the sense of village and family. We and our families often live isolated lives and forget to share with our kids the rituals, music and dances still practiced and perform in our towns. Soy Andina touches a deep yearning for that sense of belonging.”
- Neila Wyman, gesalt therapist

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