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Rosie Perez Makes Directorial Debut With Puerto Rico Documentary

August 25, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved.

New York, Aug 25 (EFE).- Actress and dancer Rosie Perez will make her debut as film director in a political documentary about Puerto Rico, her ancestral homeland, and the island's long and sometimes conflictive relationship with the United States.

"Yo soy boricua, pa' que tu lo sepa", which translates roughly as "I'm Puerto Rican, for your information," is scheduled to come out in theaters in June 2006, Perez told EFE.

"Researching relations between the United States and Puerto Rico over the last 20 years, I realized there were many political stories that I wanted to bring to the screen," said Perez, whose film career was the subject of a tribute Wednesday night.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), through its BANCinematek film program, is honoring Perez this week with screenings of the films "Do the Right Thing," by African-American director Spike Lee, and "The 24 Hour Woman," by Nancy Savoca.

Her documentary, Perez explained, tells how the 100-plus years' relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, has affected Puerto Rican culture.

"Fortunately," she added, "Moxie Firecracker Films showed interest in the project," which will be distributed beginning in June 2006 by the Independent Film Channel (IFC).

Perez and her family appear in the documentary, which was narrated by Puerto Rican-born actor Jimmy Smits and written and produced by Roger Sherman, also in charge of cinematography.

"I do it for Puerto Rico," Perez said.

In the documentary, Perez tours New York, Miami and Puerto Rico collecting stories, including that of the large number of Puerto Rican women sterilized without their knowledge, used as guinea pigs in clinical trials of birth control pills.

The documentary also addresses the issue of Vieques, the Puerto Rican island where the U.S. Navy conducted military exercises, using missiles and bombs, for 60 years, until insistent protests brought the exercises to an end in 2003.

Perez, who was arrested in Manhattan in 2000 during one of those protests, said the documentary uses New York's annual Puerto Rican parade as a "symbol of pride and metaphor for what we have achieved."

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