Puerto Rican Voices Season 5, produced by CENTRO, launches in November of this year! This season, which will be broadcasted on CUNY-TV, focuses on investigative storytelling, looking at the Puerto Rican experience through a transnational lens, building a bridge between the diaspora, and the archipelago. This season features five mini-documentaries focused on current issues in Puerto Rico, including LUMA, Act 22, and more. Join our panelists, CENTRO Directora Yarimar Bonilla, filmmaker Juan C. Davila, episode producer Noelia Quintero with Xavier Santiago from the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival moderating the conversation for the season five premier in New York at the Silberman School of Social Work on November 2nd at 5 PM EST.
This event will also feature a performance of the theme song of Puerto Rican Voices by singers Andrea Cruz y Fabiola Mendez. This event is put on in partnership with BoriMix and the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival.
Puerto Rican Voices is an investigative TV documentary series about colonialism in Puerto Rico. In the aftermath of hurricane María, the island has struggled to get back on its feet, and instead of getting more prepared in the wake of climate change, Puerto Rico finds itself in an even more fragile state. It is within this environment that the government puts forward a privatization agenda, providing unprecedented tax breaks to investors. This five-part series explores the energy crisis, pollution, displacement, and economic precarity, resulting from a decade-long recession, and the aftershocks of hurricane María. Looking at the intersections of resilience, and resistance, Puerto Rican Voices provides a map to the ongoing issues of Puerto Rico.
Yarimar Bonilla is the Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. She is also a Professor in the Department of Africana, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Hunter College and in the PhD Program in Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is an award-winning scholar and prominent public intellectual, Dr. Bonilla is a major voice on issues of Caribbean and Latinx politics. She has contributed to the New Yorker, the Nation, and the Washington Post, writes a monthly column called “En Vavién” for Puerto Rico’s newspaper El Nuevo Día, and is frequently heard on National Public Radio and television programs such as Democracy Now.
Juan Carlos Dávilais the Series Producer of the CENTRO TV show, “Puerto Rican Voices”. Juan is a documentary filmmaker, and multimedia journalist who focuses on coloniality, climate change, and networked social movements. He has directed three long-form documentary films: Compañerxs de lucha (2012), Vieques: una batalla inconclusa (2016), and Simulacros de liberación (2021), his first film to be released in theaters. Juan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts of Communication from Universidad de Sagrado Corazón, two Master’s of Arts Degrees from the University of California-Santa Cruz: one in Social Documentation, and another in Latin American and Latinx Studies.
Xavier A. Santiago is an award winning producer, actor, director and writer based between New York City and London, United Kingdom. His company, Saint Productions has produced commercials, documentaries, films, in addition to serving as a consultant for other projects, including long and short form television productions. Companies such as Animal Planet (Discovery Communications), Mahatma Rice, Carolina Rice and others only scratch the surface of his experience working within entertainment and media. Theatrically, he currently has two films in post-production and several in pre-production. His past projects have included work with notable talent such Emmy award winning Actor, Matthew Rhys and veteran Producer, Doug Claybourne. He also serves as the Festival Director for the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival.
Noelia Quintero Herencia is a Puerto Rican filmmaker, screenwriter, visual artist, and researcher. Her work stretches the limits between the popular and the conceptual in universes where cine imperfecto coexist with historical documents and the weird. In the 2000s, she directed and produced the first 52 episodes of the documentary series on Puerto Rican art and culture Prohibido Olvidar, a collaboration between WIPR and the University of Puerto Rico. Noelia has worked in television production in Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the United States. She wrote and directed the documentary on urban art La Motora Roja tiene que aparecer (2008) and the fiction feature film PAPI (2020). Since 2009 she has been conceptualizing and directing the audiovisual pieces that accompany Rita Indiana s musical work. She was director of the Department of Art, Culture and Innovation of the City of San Juan from 2013 to 2017. Her work has been exhibited at the CIRCA Art Fair (Puerto Rico), Centro León (Dominican Republic), Proyectos Ultravioleta (Guatemala) and at the Leslie-Lohman Museum (New York city), among others.
Andrea Melina Cruz Tirado is a female Puerto Rican artist, singer-songwriter, born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico in 1994. Andrea launched her first musical project titled Amapola in 2014, positioning her within the alternative music scene on her home island. In 2017, Cruz released her debut album, Tejido de laurel, which went on to climb the top of the charts within Puerto Rico’s most important music lists. After two years of sharing her sound in and outside of Puerto Rico, including popular festivals in the US such as SXSW and LAMC, she also collaborated with artists such as Lizbeth Román, Fofé Abreu, Los Wálters, and was the opening act at the Concert Soy yo by Kani García in Puerto Rico. The singer-songwriter started 2019 with an extraordinary NPR Tiny Desk concert and the release of the single Véngole featuring Gaby Moreno. She went on tour in Mexico and various countries in Latin America to promote Véngole with the purpose of raising awareness about the reproductive health of women. In 2020, she launched her second production Sentir no es del tiempo, and she just released a beautiful compilation of songs that didn’t get to be, Lo que no fue canción in the form of a lovely book, available now.
Fabiola Méndez is a Puerto Rican cuatro player, educator, and composer that has taken part in a musical movement, crossing over the lines of genres such as folkloric, jazz & Latin. Her musicality and original compositions take the listener on a journey through her identities and culture, while celebrating and exploring the versatility of the cuatro puertorriqueño. Recognized for being the first student to graduate from Berklee College of Music with the cuatro as principal instrument (2018), Fabiola performs nationally and internationally, and works as a composer for children’s shows Alma’s Way (PBS Kids) and Sesame Street’s Mecha Builders (HBO Max). She has received numerous awards, including the Quincy Jones Award for outstanding composition, WBUR’s ARTery 25, the Brother Thomas Fellowship, Whippoorwill Arts Fellowship, and a motion from the Puerto Rican House of Representatives for her work around social justice through the arts.
Centro Director, Yarimar Bonilla and Author Sherina Feliciano-Santos on October 7, 2021, discussing her latest book A Contested Caribbean Indigeneity: Language, Social Practice and Identity within Puerto Rican Taino Activism. … Continued