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9 Hurricane Maria-Inspired Films at the 2018 International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival

by Centro Staff


In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the arts have played an outsized role in everything from fundraising to helping deal with the trauma created by the storm. Film is just one among many creative mediums, but often, it can be the most effective in reaching audiences.

This year, the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival (IPRFF) will present a total of 52 films, nine of which deal with subject matter related to Hurricane Maria. There are divided between documentary and fiction, short film and feature-length. Some are set in Puerto Rico, while others explore the reality for those who were forced to relocate to the mainland. Below you will find a list of the films with a short synopsis. The IPRFF takes place from November 14th to the 18th, and is endorsed by Borimix 2018, which will celebrate Puerto Rican Heritage Month for the 32nd year with events planned throughout the month around New York City.

  1. *Extended Stay: Puerto Rican Evacuees in New York City

Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in September of 2017, bringing in its wake mass destruction to the island. In the storm’s aftermath, thousands have been displaced, and failed by the government responsible for their future.

Run time: 15:41
Directed by: Ben Liguori

  1. *Moving in Place

Moving In Place features Puerto Ricans in their 20s and 30s who share their experiences navigating life on and off the island. They unpack the complexities of Puerto Rican identity and loyalty and the difficult decision of whether to stay or leave–especially in the devastating wake of Hurricane María.

Run time: 1:05:23
Directed by: Lyka Sethi

  1. One

A castaway in his delirium is thrown to the unspeakable to find his nephew, while experiencing the ravages of hurricane Maria immersed among souls in pain. Beside him, Hurricane Maria is transfigured as a woman with a cameraman, who accompany him on his journey. At the same time, he faces his most terrible fears to achieve his liberation: One represents the struggle of masculine and feminine energies, combined with an inescapable dose of religious elements, African archetypes and poetry petals. Ten months after Hurricane Maria, a forceful voice resound for the lost souls.

Run time: 07:42
Directed by: Ariel Orama

  1. Pa’lante

Pa’lante is the story of an estranged family trying to reconnect in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Run time: 08:34
Directed by: Kristian Mercado

  1. *Puerto Rico: Hope in the Dark

‘Puerto Rico: Hope in the Dark’ is the story of the people of Puerto Rico and the faith, strength, and hope that has sustained them in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Run time: 47:47
Directed by: Dr. Maria Luskay

  1. El Regalo

Amidst the mass exodus of Puerto Ricans to the US during the current financial crisis, a young mother with a shady past does everything she can to stop her daughter from being sent to live to Orlando, Florida.

Run time: 12:00
Directed by: Joel Perez Irizarry

  1. Después de María, Las Dos Orillas

It captures the reconstruction and agency by people of NGOs in different parts of PR, the separation of families who migrated to Orlando, family enterprises and the aid by the diaspora.

Run time: 01:05:00
Directed by: Sonia Fritz

  1. ¡Ojalá! — Puerto Rico Rebuilds

¡Ojalá! – Puerto Rico Rebuilds is a bilingual film about the wishes, hopes and dreams of the Puerto Rican people after hurricane Maria. Overcoming many challenges, the people are rebuilding their lives to not simply survive, but thrive. ¡Ojalá! is not about politics, it is about the Puerto Rican spirit.

Run time: 54:00
Directed by: John Pritchard

  1. La piel de ayer

A young widower struggles to support his grandmother and his daughter after the devastation Hurricane Maria has caused them. He sets out to find clean water to help his family survive.

Run time: 22:00
Directed by: Andrew Garcia

Now in its 8th year, the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival will take place at two venues: the Clemente Soto Vélez Center and the Cantor Film Center, which are both located in Loisaida, a.k.a. the Lower East Side of Manhattan. For tickets and more information, visit: http://iprhff.com

© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices 09 November 2018.