Sneak at cinema
Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer
Have a peek.
The best of Dominican cinema will come to New York starting this Wed., May 21st, with an advance look at some of the selections to be offered during the full four-day Dominican Film Festival.
“We’re giving a sneak preview of what the Third Annual Dominican Film Festival will be like,” said Armando Guareño, Founder and Director of the festival. “It helps promote the festival.”
While the festival was held uptown last year, this year, all of the films will be screened a little farther south, at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side.
The mini-preview scheduled for this week will feature three films to whet the public’s appetite for the complete festival, which kicks off on June 18th.
One of the three films will be Biodegradable, a drama directed by Juan Basanta set in 2031. The movie tells the story of love in a Latin America country that has established a new form of governance, and where energy is manufactured from its very citizens.
Biodegradable will be followed on Thursday with La Montaña, a documentary by Tabaré Blanchard and Iván Herrera about the first Dominican and Caribbean mountain climbing expedition to reach the top of Mount Everest. And on Friday, audiences will be able to catch Sol Caribe, a documentary about meringue directed by Félix Limardo. All of this week’s screenings start at 6:30 p.m.
In addition, actors, actresses and directors are scheduled to speak at each screening.
The preview’s screenings will be free to the public.
The wide variety of films is reflective of the diverse programming that the festival offers. Among the themes explored are homosexuality, coming-of-age, and immigration, among others.
The full festival will include Mala Mala, about a drag queen in Puerto Rico; Punch Out, the most recent project from Washington Heights actor Manny Pérez about a Dominican baseball player who comes out of the closet; and De Pez en Cuando, which might be considered to It’s a Wonderful Life.
The festival’s opening film, Al Sur de la Inocencia, is about two step-siblings who learn more about their own humanity and lose their innocence when they flee to the southern Dominican Republic after family drama.
And uptown is not being overlooked.
There will be a panel discussion held at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center at West 166th Street which will touch on the Dominican diaspora and focus on a number of films, including A South Bronx Family, which follows the life of a Dominican and Puerto Rican family living in the Melrose projects of the South Bronx, and the more light-hearted Journey of a Female Comic, which follows the life of Kiki Meléndez as she struggles to make it as a comic in Hollywood.
Guareño promises there is something to appreciate in each of the films.
“They are all my favorite,” he said.
The Symphony Space
2537 Broadway (near 96th Street)
New York, NY 10025