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Music in Guatemala: Musical Instruments of Mesoamerica

This documentary is a cultural study of musical instruments of Guatemala, including the relationship between traditional Mayan and ladino instruments and music. The film traces the history of Mesoamerican musical instruments, from the pre-Colombian epoch of the Ancient Maya to the present time, and explores the manner in which musical instruments represent and shape cultural identities in Guatemala. The film includes in-depth discussion of Guatemala’s national instrument, the marimba, underscoring the marimba’s uncertain origin and its profound significance in many different areas of Guatemalan culture.

  • Alfonso Moises
    Religion in Mesoamerica, Sexuality in Mesoamerica, Languages of Mesoamerica
  • Alfonso Moises and Robert Neustadt
  • Alfonso Moises and Robert Neustadt
  • Robert Neustadt
  • Martha Moises
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    55 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 15, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    El Salvador
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • alfonsomoises@gmail.com
Director Biography - Alfonso Moises


I. Name: Alfonso Moises

Rank: Associate Professor and Coordinator Mass Communication Program

Tenure/Nontenure: tenure

Department: English, Modern Languages and Mass Communication

Year Joined the Institution: 8/07

Teaching Experience, including Areas of Involvement in Teaching):

Courses taught at the Department of Media Arts,
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (1990-1997)

Fundamentals of theory and aesthetics of the Media Arts
Audio Production
Intermediate video production
Advanced video production (Producing and directing the documentary)
Screenplay writing
Mesoamerican media and cultural analysis
History of documentary film

Courses taught at the master programs on Graphic Design and Instructional Technology, Universidad Don Bosco, El Salvador(2002-2006).

Visual communication aesthetics
Semiotics of the image
Seminar on Communication Research
Audiovisual Communication and Educational Technology
Multimedia Production
Production Design

Courses being taught at Albany State University. (2007-2008)
Fundamentals of Television Production
Film Criticism and History
History of Radio and Television
Advanced TV production
Writing for Radio, TV and Film

II. Educational Background - degree earned, academic discipline, year of award of degree, and name of institution:
(List highest earned degree first)

Diploma on Communication Research for Communication Professors 130 hours at Central American University, February to April , 1998. Sponsored by UNESCO.
Ph. D., 1988, Department of Radio, Television and Film, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Specialty Areas: Communication and development, cultural studies, media aesthetics, film and video post-production, cultural history of Mesoamerica.
Dissertation title: ¨An Alternative Strategy for Communication and Development in the Mesoamerican Cultural Area.¨
Director: Dr. Manjunath Pendakur
M.A., 1981, Department of Communication Arts. Loyola Marymount University. Specialty: Film and television production, screenplay writing, documentary film history. Thesis: Voyage to the Land of the Maya, a feature length screenplay, Director: Melt Gillman.
¨Licenciado en Letras¨ (5 years degree plus thesis), 1978, Department of Literature, Central American University ( The Jesuit University in El Salvador), San Salvador, El Salvador. Specialty: Latin American literature, dramatic theory and theatre production. Thesis title: ¨People’s Theatre: A Methodological Instrument to Counteract Cultural Domination.” Director: Dr. Eduardo Stein.

III. Publications (2002-2008):
(Please provide complete citations in a reversed chronological order)
¨La Religión en Mesoamérica¨, in Científica, a publication of Universidad Don Bosco, El Salvador, August, 2006.
Mesoamerican Culture and The Children of Sanchez¨, in Democratic Communiqué, a publication of the Union for Democratic Communication, Chicago, USA, Spring 2004, Vol 19.
¨La Seducción de la Imagen¨, in Puntos a publication of the Department of Art and Culture from Universidad Don Bosco, El Salvador, September, 2004.
¨Complejos Culturales de Mesoamérica¨, in Científica, a publication of Universidad Don Bosco, El Salvador, June, 2004.
“El Código Cultural de Mesoamérica y Los Hijos de Sánchez” in Científica, a publication of Universidad Don Bosco, El Salvador, December, 2002.

IV. Papers Presented (2002-2008):
(Please provide complete citations in a reversed chronological order)
The Mesoamerican Cultural Code: An Interactive Multimedia Project
Centro Cultural, Spanish Embassy, San Salvador, El Salvador. July 2007.
Northern Arizona University, invited by Latin American Studies and Modern Languages Department, Flagstaff, Arizona, February, 2007.
Central American Anthropological Congress, San Salvador, El Salvador, August, 2006
Religion in Mesoamerica. Interactive DVD
National Museum David J. Guzmán, San Salvador, El Salvador, October, 2004.

V. Other Research/Scholarly Activities (2002-2008):
(Please provide complete citations in a reversed chronological order)
The Mesoamerican Cultural Code. Producer/ writer/ director/ designer/ author. An interactive multimedia system that features sexuality, politics, religion and territoriality in Mesoamerican Culture.
An interactive DVD and web site have been completed. The DVD features the following documentaries: Religion in Mesoamerica, Territoriality in Mesoamerica, Politics in Mesoamerica and Sexuality in Mesoamerica. November. 2006.
Communication Campaigns produced for UNICEF-El Salvador (Coordinator, Producer and Director)
Campaign on Saving Lempa River and Water Conservation: 8 radio spots. October, 2002.
2 Campaigns on Dengue for the Ministry of Health and AID: 16 radio spots. June and September 2002.

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