This project focuses upon the history of film exhibition, programming and cinemagoing experiences in Laredo, Texas, USA, a U.S.-Mexico bordertown where 95% of its inhabitants are of Mexican ancestry and where Spanish is still widely spoken along with English. Methodologically it is a replica of the Belgian Enlightened City project on cinemagoing in Flanders, applying a triangulation of methods around a cartography of cinemas in Laredo (cf. database on venues, people and exhibition companies); an analysis of film programming (1922 to 1972, sample year per decade); and oral history on audience’s remembrance of film consumption habits in Laredo (1930-1970). The central aim of the project is to make a diachronical analysis of the social role of screen culture in Laredo (1895-1970) as a result of the tensions between commercial and ideological forces and the actual consumption, through a study of cinemas and film consumption in interaction with modernity public space and urbanisation.
The project has not received any funding. Faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students of the Communication programs in Texas A&M International University, at Laredo, Texas, have worked in the project on a voluntary basis.