Festival Update

Hello again!

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have submitted Forced into Silence to several film festivals and it is currently being considered in about 5 of the 11 I originally sent it to. The evening before yesterday I get an email from IndustryBOOST telling me that the documentary has been selected to be a part of the competition as well as a finalist for the grand prize!!!

Still, the way the competition works is that I need people to vote and comment on it and if you can do that for me, after watching the film (you have to create a profile on IndieWise – which is free btw) if you can vote, comment, and share with your personal networks I would greatly appreciate it!

Thank you so much in advance, here are the pertinent links to do all the awesome supporting I’m sure you’ll do for this film:

IndustryBOOST Competition on IndieWise: https://getindiewise.com/5jwqmwARBQK

November Update

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Salt Water will be undergoing more edits

With all of what’s happened during the past few weeks it’s been difficult to keep myself together with my work, but here are a few things that’s happening or that are scheduled to happen this month.

  1. I moved to a new location – we’ve known that I’ve been looking for a new place to settle down and I’ve finally found one that I’m incredibly happy with.
  2. While I haven’t had much time to sit down and work, the few moments, hours I’ve had to do so I’ve realized that I’m not happy with the final cut of Salt Water and will be working on the edits once more. Once I’m incredibly happy and super satisfied with it, I’ll release it (thank God I didn’t release it already!) and submit it to film festivals, and later on upload it to my YouTube Channel.
  3. I’ve started to think of the perfect way to edit the pilot for the Silent no More docu-series. I do need a bit more footage, and do some additional recording myself – then it’s going to be perfect.
  4. There’s an upcoming surfing event (the Saturday after thanksgiving) and I’ll be covering that for the No Boundaries X Magazine – a publication that focuses on extreme sports and healthy lifestyle here in Puerto Rico.

What’s going on with the Film Festivals?

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Forced into Silence is still competing at Film Festivals! 

So, I’ve been waiting to hear from the 11 festivals I’ve submitted Forced into Silence to and while I’ve been accepted to one – and voted to win the Best Documentary award for that festival, there are other festivals that the film is still “in consideration” and others that have already rejected it. Why? Well, I don’t know, since they don’t give explanation for their decisions. I’m thinking it could be anywhere from the fact that I used Google Hangouts (because of budget restrictions) to make most of the film happen or the topic of choice of the film – again, I don’t know. However, I’m still hopeful that it makes the cut for those other festivals it’s still in consideration for. I also keep on getting invitations to submit to festivals. It’s all confusing and exciting, so I’ll keep you guys posted on that as I am informed of decisions, invites and more.

Political postings and rants

It’s been a tough couple of few weeks for me and my fellow liberals – and although I’ve never made a posting about politics, the results of an election, but I felt that this was more personal than any other election. I’ve been accused to be part of the snowflakes that are too delicate to deal with a real Presidential candidate by those in the alt-right – to which I say: “I’m too progressive to regress to segregation, religious registration and prevent a possible genocide of any kind” therefore I made a post about how I felt the political outcomes of both countries I’m directly involved with affected me personally.

Moving forward…

20160802_163946I’m putting together a group of amazing people in order to launch a podcast for those who need to hear about how to take on challenges in this world. So many people come up to me and confess to me their admiration for how I deal with issues in my life and ask for advice and that has inspired me to make a podcast to give people a new perspective as to how to see and deal with issues in their lives. I’m often told that I put things in a viewpoint that perhaps they would have never thought of – and maybe the podcast will enable me to help people that aren’t just my friends. Right now it’s an idea, so it’s going to be a while before I get that off the ground and running – still, stay tuned!

And since it’s November, happy holidays to everyone out there!

Fear and hate; the real winners of the 2016 Elections

November 8, 2016 – a historic day that determined the path of the modern world. A day that revealed the truth of the people in one of the world’s most coveted, admired countries – a day where I knew, for sure, where I stood as a woman, as a Latina, as a human.

For a while now I’ve seen how the first world is slowly moving towards the inevitable 3rd global war, and for that time I’ve often told myself that I am just imagining things, that the face of America I’m seeing is a figment of my imagination, that Americans are smarter than to elect someone that will surely damage the progress the country has made during the last eight years. That Americans will surely never regress to the racial tension, segregation, and violence that during the 1950’s…I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Today, November 9th – I think that there is a great possibility that I might see a sign that my father once saw when he was stationed in Louisiana during basic training for the US Army – a sign that read “no niggers, no dogs, no porto ricans’ in that order.

What happened in Puerto Rico?

Fear is what happened.

As the results for the next governor of the US territory invaded my television screen and radio airwaves, I witnessed the push towards a different path my fellow islanders and I are so desperate for, as more voters chose the independent candidate Alexandra Lúgaro, who earned a record 11.11% (a total of 172, 882) of the votes – unprecedented, un-thought of for a candidate of this kind, it wasn’t enough for her to win. However historic this was, ultimately fear of letting go of big brother won; leaving the politically inexperienced and ever-redundant Ricardo Roselló, the candidate for the Partido Nuevo Progresista – PNP (New Progressive Party) with a 41.76% (a total of 649,569) of the votes, making him the governor-elect of Puerto Rico.

Disappointment. Still, I know that while Puerto Rico is very set in its ways and is extremely slow to change, if I learned anything from yesterday is that change is going to happen. Independent candidates like Lúgaro and Manuel Cidre (who earned an equally historic 5.72% (89,051) of the votes – making that double the amount than the candidate for the third primary party, Maria de Lourdes Santiago, who ran under the Partido Independendista Puertorriqueño – PIP (Puerto Rican Independent Party) and walked away with 2.13% (33,173) of the votes – proved that. The results show that we are, in fact, tired of the partisan government and pushing for a major change. We just need to push harder.

The meltdown of the United States Democracy

From the island, a place where my permanent residency has been established about 4 years ago, therefore stripping me of my right to vote for the President of the United States – those who “own” this island – I watched as the mainland shifted, and revealed my greatest fear: Trump winning the Presidency.

I need to stop for a moment and ask; what really did win last night?

From where I’m standing, I saw hate, racism, degradation, sexism, and the encouraging of gender, sexual orientation and religious persecution win. From where I’m standing, I saw elitism win. I witnessed as racial divide made a reappearance. From where I’m standing all those who voted for Donald Trump under the pretext of religious beliefs, all of those who voted against corruption (or ‘crooked Hillary’), all of those who were desperate to find a solution to the economy while trying to create more jobs in the US, along with the excuse that they were fed up of the same failed promises of previous and current candidate(s) – I saw you all vote against the hundreds of millions of people who are part of your own country. I saw as you voted against immigrants, both legal and illegal, I saw you elect a man who has a tragic history of business management, a fraudulent record, and a bully a rapist, a bigot, a man who has bragged about physical and sexual assault – I saw you elect that man into office with a great deal of sadness in my heart. I saw as you praised the Lord for giving you the  man who has outsourced hundreds of thousands of American jobs to cut costs, and thinks is smart to commit federal crime (tax evasion) as President.

As I watched his campaign earned more and more followers, and saw him encourage violence, assault, hate – I saw you cheer him on, while letting him get away with the violation of women, the verbal abuse of the disabled, and heard you continuously label him as what “God chose” to lead Americans into the next four years of your and our history. With my heart is still broken, I am not surprised that this is who you truly are. In the face of Donald Trump I see all those people that denied me opportunities because of my gender, because of my race, because of my weight or all of the above. I was reminded that as people often think of the United States as the land of opportunity, it has been the land of opportunities for me to realize that I, and millions of others like me are nothing to Americans. I just didn’t think that any of the people that I once considered my closest friends saw themselves properly represented by this man. Then again, we really don’t know who our friends are. We never really know one another…

For those who voted for Trump because you wanted to vote against Clinton, you ultimately voted against me. For those who voted for Trump because you saw in him your Christian values, you voted against me. For those who voted for Trump for any other reason, you voted against me, against the LGBTQ community, against the right to choose, against women, against opportunity, against social, gender, and pay equality, you voted against freedom – you all voted against anything that is different than you.

You elected hate, racism, segregation, deportation, censorship, and lynching – if you’re of immigrant parents, you voted against them and their life’s sacrifice. If you are a minority, a woman, Asian, Muslim, Black, Latinx, a member of the LGBTQ community, disabled, poor and voted for Trump you, my friend, voted against yourself and your basic human rights. If you elected Trump with the hopes of him bringing back jobs, making “America Great again” think that this is a man who cares not for the welfare of the people, he is a beneficiary of the Dakota Access Pipeline – one that contaminates water, violates treaties and sacred lands – you voted for regression, not progression.

Because of you, millions of lives are now at risk.

The stories as they should be told

The beauty of being a filmmaker is that I’m able to work on so many projects in different genres – but I keep on being asked “why are documentaries important to me?”

As a journalist and overall filmmaker I think that telling the stories, as truthful as possible, whenever I can is a responsibility that I have to my audience. Yes, I would love to, in a near future, direct scripted material – but for now I feel there are so many stories, involving the violation of both human and environmental rights that I need to further develop these stories and start a conversation that no one is having.dr-vibe-interview-transcript

I want to talk about domestic violence for a second (or two, or three)…

There has been a lot of talk about the struggles men face while coming out as victims of domestic violence – while the issue has been surging for the past few years there’s still a long way to go when it comes to providing help for men who say they’ve been abused by their partners – an injustice if you ask me.

According to a recent Business Insider article “a report released Tuesday by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) shows that Jacob, whose story is detailed in the report, was hardly alone in his struggle to find help. Surveying 1,976 instances of LGBTQ intimate partner abuse from 2015, NCAVP found that nearly half of survivors (44 percent) had been turned away from shelters.”

Why? Because most shelters have a “no men” policy in order to keep the women they’re helping safe – and they should be kept safe, but the administrations to these shelters and clinics should also recognize that men can and often are victims of domestic violence, rape and child sexual abuse – and rarely, if at all get any help.

While, and I reiterate here, the progress in the help women have gained throughout the years has been great and should be continued in order to help those who have been victimized by their partners – I feel there is a large demographic that is being ignored here, and until we address the other victims of domestic violence, we are only doing half of the work that is required to put an end to partner abuse and/or domestic violence.

Which is why the film Forced into Silence came about and now Silent no More is a docu-series will further explore the issues presented in the film. My hope is that people will see the importance of a gender-inclusive conversation of victims of domestic violence and will begin to realize that men and those in the LGBTQ community that face the gender-restrictions that force them to continue to go through these human rights violations, when they clearly need help to get out of their abusive situation.

As of today I began making the first edits to the interviews I’ve done for the pilot of the series, once done with that, I’ll be submitting it to festivals and pitching for funding for more episodes. All with hopes that producers  and/or financiers see the need to have this conversation, if I’m not successful with that, the docu-series will be available to be seen in different online platforms such as Vimeo and/or YouTube for everyone to see, learn and interact with. The point is to keep the conversation going and to help bring awareness that domestic violence is not a gender-exclusive problem, but everyone’s problem.

 

October Update

There is so much to tell about these past few months!

Let’s start with the most exciting; after working on a film for so long it was selected to be a part of its first festival, which did well because the overall rating for the snippet shared on Get Indie Wise came up to a 9.2 on their 10 score scale. I’m really excited that people want to see this documentary and voted for it. It’s truly heartwarming, humbling and overwhelming to see that while some producers might not see the value of a story, the audience does and that’s what really matters to me – to any filmmaker I know really.

Furthermore, I began filming on the docu-series Silent No More in the first episode I speak to James Landrith, who has made incredible things as a speaker and writer about that one horrific time a woman raped him. His declarations are compelling and I can’t wait for you to hear him. I also include an interview with William Murray, a theology student who is focusing his thesis on criminal behavior and how we, as a society, can change the way we educate ourselves when it comes to aggression, sexuality and religion – all of which are the three main causes of harassment and/or crime in my opinion. It’s going to be a real treat for you to see the series. The goal is to really explore the topics I mention in Forced into Silence, which because of time restrictions couldn’t really go into it – because that would have made a 10 hour film….and no one wants to sit through something like that…also that’s what series are for!

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In other (short) film news, I began….and completed shooting Ocean Therapy and changed the films name to Salt Water (<<< click to see the preview) – I thought the latter had more “oomph” and would be more poetic and direct at the same time.  Salt Water is the second installment of the environmentally themed trilogy of short documentaries that began with Forever Boogies. The short runs about 33 minutes long and features interviews and snippets of the work done by two of the most amazing people I know. Yesael Rivera and Lisandra Baez are setting out to change the world they live in and by working with children with Autism and Down Syndrome through their free clinics/lessons of body boarding, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and skateboarding.

Baez, a former physical education teacher and athletic director in Dorado was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2009. Still, she competes in may SUP events, recently winning first place in women’s division in Rincón.  Rivera, a former Olympic qualifying and Central Olympic swimmer, is coming up with some amazing proposals for coastal safety as he co-directs an innovative non-profit in the North-Central area of the island. It’s a great film filled with anecdotes, positivity, inspiration and how the ocean is providing so much for people who find themselves with so little.

In other news, I have come to work with a fun magazine called No Boundaries X Magazine; it’s a new local publication that focuses on extreme sporting, athletic development and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and environment. It’s a lot of work, but it’s enjoyable.

I have to admit, being the managing editor and social media manager for the magazine, as well as a filmmaker, caregiver and business woman…it’s satisfying, but also a lot of responsibility and at times a bit overwhelming. Wherein comes scheduling in order for me to make everything I need to make happen…well, happen. I like working at the magazine because I get to see how people are improving their lives through their efforts, and their passions are contagious.

Although I work incredibly hard, I make sure to take time for myself. To recharge, to disconnect from all the things that, while amazing, they can be stressful – so I go out to the beach and ride some waves, or take a dip or two after I cover a coastal event. This is part of making sure I don’t lose my mind, or how I usually say it ‘lose my shit’ – I have so much to do and I’ve been neglecting other things (like making diaper bags for one of my best friends and her husband because they just had her first child) – but that’s okay, because I still have time to make these things. I just have to make it fit my schedule (hahaha).

Also, if you follow me regularly, you might have noticed I took out the Patreon page for donations. Why? Well, because no one was pledging and it was annoying me – so I took it out after closing the account. I understand the economy is bad, and that’s okay.

FiS’ First Film Festival!

forced-into-silence-official-posterI am extremely excited to announce that my passion project, Forced into Silence, is part of the Official 2016 Selection of the IndieWise Virtual Film Festival!

This is a unique sort of festival, it’s virtual, so that enables anyone can see the films from wherever they are in the world! With that said, I need your help to bring my film up to a popular status, and therefore further build an audience for it.

 

Please go to: https://getindiewise.com/xjJK36Y5ra and vote for my film – it’s easy to sign up, it’s also free and not only will you get to see the sneak peek of my film (I only included the first 1:30minute because it’s still being considered for other film festivals, and I didn’t want to get rejected for streaming on a digital platform) but, you’ll be able to see other amazing films from all these great emerging filmmakers!

Please help my film and its story make it! I thank you all for your support