The N.Y. premiere of the multi-awards winner film “Lo que siento por ti” (What I Feel For You) by Raul Camilo opened the 8th Dominican Film Festival in New York City (DFFNYC).
“Lo que siento por ti” weaves three stories about the challenges of disabled children and their parents in this feature film debut. Ana, mother of two autistic sons, struggles daily with the misconceptions her neighbors and relatives have about autism. Jorge and Diana are finally going to be parents after trying for so long; they will now have to give their disabled son the same love they feel for each other. Luis, a young man with Down’s Syndrome, earns a spot on the Special Olympics of Latin America in Puerto Rico, which he receives training from his selfless father.
The Centerpiece of this year’s festival, the drama filled “El Closet” (The Closet), is directed by Miguel Vasquez. It tells the story of Jose, a priest who travels to Mexico that unexpectedly gets trapped in the closet of a matrimonial room. He then tries to find the means to get out and save his life, but it is not easy to leave the place without the risk of dying. Therefore, he asks for help from all sectors of society. It has been raved as the most controversial film of the Dominican cinema.
Running July 23-28, 2019, under the slogan “Ama Tu Cine”, DFFNYC will showcase 70 films in 5 venues across Manhattan with the CINEPOLIS CHELSEA (260 W 23rd St and 8th Ave. NY, NY 10011) as its main venue.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival is a special retrospective of “Porfirio Rubirosa, The Legend of a Playboy.” This trilogy shows the misadventures of the famous jet-setting Dominican playboy who has been speculated to spy for dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. He was widely praised for his extravagant lifestyle and legendary sexual prowess with women. Manny has argued in Hollywood that Rubirosa was director Ian Fleming’s main inspiration for the James Bond films.
One of the treasures of the festival is the international premiere of the documentary “Solano”. The film explores the life of Rafael Solano, a singer-songwriter and composer of “Por Amor”—a song that has been recorded by more than one hundred different voices by artists such as Gloria Estefan, Lucho Gatica, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Vikki Carr, Jon Secada, and Plácido Domingo, among others; and re-recorded in dozens of languages and has obtained success in more than 60 countries.
The spotlight of the festival, “La musiquita por dentro,” by director Ernesto Alemany tells the story of Ariel, a reserved and timid young man who falls in love with Mar, a companion at his internship at a large company. After a beautiful friendship that eventually grows into a sentimental relationship, Vanessa appears, causing conflict that seems irreconcilable.
DFFNYC offers a rich and diverse program that includes the DFFNYC Official Competition, a powerful compilation of narrative films and documentaries dedicated to display the talents of established directors alongside the new movement of groundbreaking filmmakers from the island. The special programs include “The Dominicans in Fashion” that shows how fashion and film are two artistic disciplines with a complex relationship. Also the “Family Day-Out”, on July 24-26, at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, which the program will present films for all ages. And it is a free event. Also included in the slate of screenings are programs dedicated to short films such as “Dominicans in the Diaspora”, which exhibits talented Dominican filmmakers who choose to tell their stories away from home for various reasons, and “Short Films – Big Stories”, a cinematic celebration and powerful demonstration of new and emerging filmmakers from the Dominican Republic and the diaspora competing for Best Short film.
The festival closes on Sunday July 28, with the NY premiere of “La Isla Rota” (Broken Island), directed by Felix Germán. The film tells the story of Guy, a Haitian boy escaping from poverty who has to witness the murder of his parents at the Dominican border. Taken in by a Haitian couple who adopts him, Guy grows up working in the country’s sugar cane fields. He wants to seek revenge on Abes, the man who murdered his parents, but the October 1937 military massacre of more than 30,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent ordered by the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo forces Guy and newfound love Meuda to escape to Haiti in search of a new life.
Some of the films competing for the DFFNYC Manzana Award are:
Miguel Vazquez | 2018 | 101 min
Un 4to. De Josué
Gabriel Valencia | 2018 | 101 min
En tu piel (7:20)
Matias Bize| 2018 | 90 min
Dos mejor que una
Jose Enrique Pintor | 2018 | 99 min
Beto Gomez | 2018 | 91 min
Francisco Adolfo Valdez | 2018 | 89 min
Carlos Moreno, Hugo Rodriguez | 2018 | 110 min
La tragedia de Rio Verde
Miguel Vazquez | 2018 | 85 min
Patricia Solano, Juan Basanta | 2018 | 89 min
Margot Guernsey | 2018 | 60 min
1984: El otro abril (1984: The Other April)
Reyvin Jáquez Grullón | 2019 | 88 min
The American Dream
Jonathan Hock | USA | Documentary | 2019 | 101 min