You might imagine Rosie Perez -- successful actress, In Living Colors legendary choreographer who orchestrated the Fly Girls every move, and dynamic star of Broadways The Vagina Monologues -- would have no problem making her dream project reality. But when it came to her directorial debut, the riveting documentary Yo Soy Boricua, Paque Tu Los Sepas! (Im Boricua, Just So You Know!), this was not the case.
Hollywoods power players werent enthusiastic to support her story about the forced sterilization of Puerto Rican women. I just kept banging my head against the wall until I found the door, she explains. But Perezs determination paid off. Her documentary strikes a successful balance between sad and funny, inspiring and disturbing, while reinforcing the strength of family and patriotic pride. Through interviews with family, friends, and cultural figures who witnessed the islands turbulent history unfold, Perez reveals what makes Puerto Ricans so damn proud. She says, Its been a very long process -- at least six years. I wanted to make sure that I did everything right.
South Florida audiences will be thrilled to find that one of the films most heartwarming scenes takes place in Miami, when Perez travels to meet some distant relatives. She admits to having a strained relationship with our often ostentatious city. It just seems like everything is about money in that whole South Beach scene. And Im not a materialistic person. But my cousins have shown me a more down to earth side of the city. The Miami that theyve shown me, I like, she says.
Tonight Perez will share her labor of love with local audiences and then participate in a question-and-answer session. Shes excited about showing her project to a viewing audience. I feel 50-fucking-feet tall. I put every single bit of myself into this thing, and I feel very, very good about it, she beams. Catch the world premiere of Perezs directorial debut tonight at 6:30 at the Colony Theater. Tickets cost $12. Call 305-237-3456, or visit www.miamifilmfestival.com.
Tue., March 7, 6:30 p.m.