After a raucous screening of his box office behemoth earlier this year at the Havana Film Festival New York, La gunguna, Dominican director Ernesto Alemany gleefully told an audience that the DR’s film industry is booming. Indeed, ever since a favorable film law was passed in 2012, the Caribbean island has seen its output increase exponentially. Alongside this boom, the annual Dominican Film Festival in New York, established right around the same time, has been making inroads to showcase the strong work produced by DR’s directors this past decade.
For this year, the festival’s programmers have made sure that audiences get a diverse cross-section of the movies coming out of the DR. In addition to Alemany’s film, which will no doubt be a hot ticket at this year’s DFFNY, find Remezcla’s top picks from the fest’s varied lineup of art house cinema and more commercial fare. Whether you enjoy road trip films, colorful documentaries, or biopics set in 1940s Hollywood, we want to make sure you don’t miss this chance to see the best of this burgeoning criollo industry.
The Dominican Film Festival in New York runs June 22-26, 2016.
The protagonist of this film is the “Gunguna,” a tiny .22 caliber gun. Turns out, she has quite the stories to tell! According to local lore, she brings bad luck to whoever possesses her and Ernesto Alemany’s sprawling ensemble are here to show you precisely what kinds of catastrophe this gun can bring to people as powerful as arms dealers, and as shady as corrupt police officials. No one is safe in this dark, violent, and at times hilarious narrative that paints a picture of contemporary DR.
Leidy, Fina and Clara have all left their children behind, under the care of their family members, to be able to take jobs taking care of other people’s children. Looking at the lives of live-in nannies, and the motherly connections that are created in their wake, Nana offers a touching portrayal of the expansive notion of “motherhood.”
María África Gracia Vidal, better known to us as María Montez, remains a legendary Hollywood icon. As such, her life story is full of myth and melodrama. In this sumptuous biopic set in the 1940s, we get to see the beautiful Dominican actress (played by Celinés Toribio) fight her way into the studio system despite her so-called exotic looks and become “The Queen of Technicolor.”
Oliver, Hemingway and Moses are all set for a road trip. They’re headed to Pedernales, where Oliver’s girlfriend is staying with her grandmother before she moves away to New York. It’s a perfect way for the three friends to spend their last summer together. As they fend off obstacles and a series of mishaps along the way, Guillermo Zouain’s characters take us on a thrilling journey across the DR, giving us a Caribbean road movie for all to enjoy.
La república del color
An engaging art history, La república del color takes viewers on a tour of the Dominican Republic’s artistic tradition, arguing that the colorful vistas of the island changed the way visual artists around the world understood and used color.