The Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival Brings the Island’s Cinema Industry to New York

Lead Photo: 'Broche de oro' still courtesy of IPRHFF
'Broche de oro' still courtesy of IPRHFF
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The seventh annual International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival (IPRHFF) arrives in New York City as Puerto Rico continues to feel the effects of Hurricane Maria. In a written statement celebrating this year’s edition of IPRHFF, New York Governor Cuomo pointed out just how crucial events like these at this very moment. “It is a wonderful venue for introducing the works of some of the most influential Puerto Rican filmmakers and actors, and strengthen connections between the New York and Puerto Rican artistic, cultural, and film communities, and the bonds that connect our people,” he noted. “Together we will continue to help Puerto Rico rebuild and recover – as long as needed.”

So for those moviegoers eager to take a look at what’s been going on in the PR film industry, IPRHFF is the plug. In addition to opening with a Lifetime Achievement Award to legendary Puerto Rican director Jacobo Morales, the fest will screen the broad comedy Broche de OroFollowing a trio of old geezers who meet at an old folks’ home as they decide to escape for a wild weekend by the beach, this Dirty Grandpa/Last Vegas-like comedy is a celebration of friendship set against the deep blues and vivid greens of PR’s lush landscapes.

For those eager to get a more educational feel out of their IPRHFF experience, Títeres en el Caribe Hispano is a deep dive into the world puppetry in Cuba, the DR, and Puerto Rico. Featuring interviews with some of the greatest puppeteers in the Caribbean, think of Manuel A. Morán‘s documentary as a kind of PBS special on this most fascinating of performing arts. Come for the insightful commentary about the theatrical possibilities of puppets (who are “too human, at times, and sometimes not human at all”) but stay for the amazing wide-eyed wooden títeres on display in all their joyous glory.

Elsewhere, you’ll want to catch the pulse-quickening and salsa-scored thriller Sol de medianoche (Midnight Sun)Douglas Pedro Sánchez‘s sleek flick follows Manolo (Pedro Capó), a private eye who specializes in cheating spouses. But when he’s tasked with keeping tabs on a friend of his late twin brother, he’ll find himself embroiled in a twisty plot that will have him reliving what happened to his sibling the night he died. Steamy and alluring – and filled to the brim with beautiful actors – Midnight Sun is giving us De Palma vibes with its neon-tinged nighttime scenes and its lurid beach-set action sequences.

Let these be just a sample of the varied filmmaking on display. In addition to these three features, IPRHFF is showing over 20 other films, including – as part of its celebration of this year’s Guest Country – four features from Mexico’s Golden Age, as well as hosting two panels on Mexican cinema. Check out the full schedule and make sure to not miss any of these great events happening all around New York City.

The International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival runs November 8 – 12, 2017.