Nuyorican Cinema: Framing Identity
With Vagabond Alexander Beaumont, Sonia González-Martinez, Cynthia López, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Luis Antonio Ramos, and moderator Edwin Pagán
Part of the series Changing the Picture, sponsored by Time Warner Inc.
Nuyorican Cinema: Framing Identity is a discussion featuring renowned filmmakers, content creators, and curators about the contributions of New York-born Puerto Ricans to the film and entertainment industry. The panel will cover the historical landscape of filmmakers, writers, and actors from the Lower East Side, the South Bronx, Spanish Harlem (a.k.a. “El Barrio”), and from the south side of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (“Los Sures”) who have tackled sociological and political challenges in their work, and how these struggles have helped to create a distinct Nuyorican aesthetic. The discussion will also address the inherent lack of representation and negative portrayals of Puerto Ricans in entertainment, as well as the duality and political ramifications that Nuyorican mediamakers encounter given the tumultuous history between the United States and Puerto Rico, and how a new generation of New York “Boricuas” is changing the face of the industry.
Organized by guest curator Edwin Pagán
Vagabond Alexander Beaumont, Writer, director, activist
Sonia González-Martinez, Director, editor
Cynthia López, Former Commissioner of NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment
Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Filmmaker, scholar, author
Luis Antonio Ramos, Actor
Moderated by Edwin Pagán, Filmmaker, writer, curator
Free admission. This event is currently at capacity. Reservations are no longer being taken; however standby tickets may become available at the door. Visit the Museum’s admission desk after 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 4, to secure a position in the standby line. Museum members will be given priority.
Those registered for the event should arrive no later than 7:15 p.m. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
About the panelists:
Vagabond Alexander Beaumont is a writer, artist, and filmmaker. His first feature film was Machetero (2008), about the ongoing struggle for Puerto Rican independence, which starred Isaach De Bankolé. His short story Kafka’s Last Laugh was included in the science fiction anthology Octavia’s Brood, honoring the work of science fiction writer Octavia Butler. He is currently producing and directing two documentaries, Harlem’s Last Poet, on the life of poet Abiodun Oyewlole, and Six Shooters, about six Puerto Rican photographers from the South Bronx who picked up cameras as their weapons of choice and documented the birth of hip-hop and salsa as the South Bronx burned in the 1970s and ’80s.
Sonia González-Martinez is a writer, director, and editor from New York City. Her directing credits include the short comedies Urban Lullaby and The Trilogy of Lyric Les, as well as the feature-length documentary Bragging Rights: Stickball Stories, about the history and players of the New York City game of stickball. González-Martinez, together with actress Tammi Cubilette and comedian Angelo Lozada, formed T&A Flicks, which produces the comedy web series Get Some!, currently being developed for television. In 2015, Sonia was chosen from hundreds of candidates to participate in the Sony Diverse Directors Program.
Cynthia López is the former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment where she implemented strategies to support production of film and TV production throughout the five boroughs, and oversaw NYC Media, the City’s official TV, radio and online network. Previously, she served as executive vice president and co-executive producer of American Documentary | POV, the award-winning PBS documentary series. López is the founding chairperson of the board of directors of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP). She is the recipient of 11 National News & Documentary Emmy Awards among many other prestigious awards
Frances Negrón-Muntaner is a filmmaker, writer, curator, and scholar. Among her books and publications are: Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture (CHOICE Award, 2004), The Latino Media Gap (2014) and The Latino Disconnect: Latinos in the Age of Media Mergers (2016). Her films include AIDS in the Barrio (1989), Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican (Whitney Biennial, 1995), Small City, Big Change (2014), War for Guam (2015), and Life Outside (2016). She is the director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, founder of the Media and Idea Lab, and curator of the Latino Arts and Activism archive at Columbia University.
Luis Antonio Ramos was born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, New York. He is an actor and producer with a wide range of acting experience, with roles in television, film, and theater. He is known for Derek Velez Partridge’s A Miracle in Spanish Harlem (2013) and Franc. Reyes’s The Ministers (2009), and the Starz’ hit TV drama series Power. He has appeared on the television series The Unit, Burn Notice, Numb3rs, The Shield, and many others and was a series regular on The Brian Benben Show and Queens, with recurring roles on In the House, Ink, and Martin. Ramos was nominated for an Alma Award for best supporting actor for his work in The Huntress. Luis also received the Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor for his performance in the play Stand Up Tragedy.
Edwin Pagán is a New York-based filmmaker, writer, curator, and cultural activist with over 25-years of hands-on experience in content creation and film production in both the documentary and narrative film sectors. He has served on the boards of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), and more recently, the Hispanic Organization of Latino Actors (HOLA). He has also served on numerous foundation selection juries and film festival curatorial committees, and has curated the NewLatino Filmmakers Screening Series at Anthology Film Archives for the past 14 years. In 2008, he created Latinhorror.com, an online portal specializing in Latin-influenced horror, its documentation, and promotion as a distinct genre. He is currently writing a book on the subject titled Miedo—The History of Latin Horror, while also working on a documentary about the rise, fall, and resurrection of the South Bronx, called Bronx Burning.