“I am not a liberator. They do not exist. The People liberate themselves.”
– Che Guevara
In Puerto Rico (and other Latin American nations) Christmas is celebrated on Three Kings Day, the sixth of January. The celebration is based on the day that the three Magi, bearing gifts, come to visit the birth of the baby Jesus in the manger. Puerto Rico is a colony of the US and has been since 1898… Colonization often forces the colonized into an economic exile that ironically enough leads them to settle in the nation that colonized them. That paradigm is no different for Puerto Ricans living the US. The majority of Puerto Ricans in the US are here because of the colonization of Puerto Rico. However there has always been a resistance to that colonization in the Puerto Rican diaspora and part of that resistance has been in keeping the native traditions of where you come from, in the foreign place that you have found yourself.
The Three Kings Day Parade is an act of cultural resistance to the colonization of Puerto Rico. It was started by El Museo Del Barrio which has its own roots in the rich history of Puerto Rican cultural resistance. Every year El Museo organizes the Three Kings Day Parade to maintain what US colonialism would like to eradicate. Over the years the Three Kings Day Parade has expanded its cultural resistance to include the neo-colonization of other Latin American nations whose people have been forced into the economic exile of US capitalism.
The Three Kings Day Parade resistance to colonialism which is a handmaiden for capitalism, made it the perfect backdrop to our first day of shooting PAWNSHOP DREAM. PAWNSHOP DREAM is surrealist comedic script about a young girl who wants to buy a beautiful box of sand she see in a pawnshop window but she doesn’t have enough to buy so the pawnshop owner puts it on layaway. She grows up paying for the beautiful box of sand for years until she decides that enough is enough and goes into the pawnshop to take what always been hers… The idea for PAWNSHOP DREAM is based on the life of Dylcia Pagan a former US held Puerto Rican Political Prisoner and Prisoner Of War who was charged with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the US government and sentenced to 65 years in prison. She served 20 years before a campaign won the release of her and other Puerto Rican political prisoners and prisoners of war in 1998.
We have already begun shooting PAWNSHOP DREAM even though all the money isn’t in place. We aren’t deterred by such trivialities as not having money to make a film… especially a surreal film such as this… The Three Kings Day Parade is the perfect example of this. It presented an opportunity for the film to include an event rooted in cultural resistance to colonialism. So we shot Alexis “Flea” Fernandez who is one of the stars of PAWNSHOP DREAM (she’s also the costar of my other film NO WAY HOME) and plays the younger Dylcia Pagan and as she walks to the pawnshop to make yet another payment on her beautiful box of sand. The idea is that as Dylcia (played by Flea, another actress yet to be cast and then by Dylcia herself) walks back and forth to the pawnshop making payments on her beautiful box of sand she is surrounded by and takes part in these acts of everyday resistance in the street. These acts of resistance in the street shape her thinking and give her interactions with the pawnshop owner context.
We are still trying to raise money to make PAWNSHOP DREAM but we won’t wait until we have it all to begin… We do what we can, when we can… And when the opportunities and resources present themselves we move forward in the same way a guerrilla army does in battle… Filmmaking for me is cultural guerrilla warfare… We stay nimble and aware and look for the slim chances and wait for the odds that even at their best are invariably stacked against us as we take a bit more ground each time we move forward…
You can help us… We have raised $535 so far and need to raise another $4500. A few dollars is all it takes… i would rather have 4500 people donate one dollar than have one person donate $4500… Be a part of this PAWNSHOP DREAM and help take back the dream that was bought BY you but was never sold TO you… Be a part of the PAWNSHOP DREAM and take back what was always yours…