Six Time International Award Winning Film MACHETERO On Vimeo On Demand

2013 MACHETERO Released

Six Time International Award Winning Film MACHETERO On Vimeo On Demand
Six Time International Award Winning Film MACHETERO On Vimeo On Demand

“I love the cinema passionately enough not to remain a spectator.”
– Francois Truffaut

As part of my looking back on my artistic accomplishments for 2013 the year marked 11 years after the script for MACHETERO was written, 7 years after i started shooting, 5 years after i finished shooting and 5 years after we won the first of six international awards. It also marked the DIY theatrical release of the film. From June 12th through the 19th i rented a small 55 seat theater with a video projector on the Lower East Side of NYC at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center and screened MACHETERO three times a day on weekdays and 5 times a day on weekends. The plan was to garner critical attention to a film that spoke about US colonialism in Puerto Rico that critics might champion, to encourage audiences to  see, so that a much-needed dialogue about US colonialism in Puerto Rico could be had.

i take my DIY seriously, i promoted the film both online and on the streets, sold tickets, popcorn, soda, Cracker Jacks, T-shirts and CD’s, ran the projector, introduced the film and answered questions afterwards. It was one of the hardest things i’ve ever done and it pushed me to my limits. It was a painful uphill battle. Financially i just barely broke even – that is if you don’t count the hundreds of hours of work i put in. i know that admitting to this kind of failure is not a smart thing for someone to do in this business but filmmaking has never been a business for me. Years ago i thought i had chosen to make films but i was wrong, i didn’t choose to make films, filmmaking chose me… i’m not making films for Hollywood, i make films because i have a question that only making a film can answer, so the rules of the Hollywood game don’t apply to me…

The process of a DIY theatrical release was an experiment in separating the wheat from the chaff. It was a means of discovering what filmmaking was for me. It was an attempt to rewrite the rules so that they worked for me rather than against me. On a certain level that attempt failed and on another level it was a resounding success. It failed in terms of trying to garner the critical attention needed for a film like MACHETERO to garner an audience. The film critics i tried courting on Twitter and on Facebook didn’t show any interest in reviewing the film. There was not much of an audience and so there wasn’t much of a discussion on the colonial relationship that the US has had with Puerto Rico for 115 years now. On that front, it failed miserably.

On another level the film succeeded as a means of open political and artistic defiance. A film as outspoken as MACHETERO was never going to be distributed theatrically or otherwise in the US. There are many American films that are critical or call for reform but very few that are anti-American. i have no fear or apprehension in saying that MACHETERO is an anti-American film. US colonialism in Puerto Rico is a distinctly American phenomena and i am openly and unapologetically opposed to it. While it’s true that the first amendment allows you to express those kinds of views in America it doesn’t mean that anyone has to pay attention, it doesn’t mean anyone has to watch or listen to anything you have to say. The radical voice of MACHETERO wasn’t going to be given a chance to be heard within the Hollywood distribution game or the so-called independent alternative distributors. Even if there were a distributor bold enough to take the film on i highly doubt that they would handle the marketing and promotion of the film in a way that would have insured the film’s success. i would have been left alone to do everything i did in terms of a DIY release only now with the added burden of a partner that didn’t know how to pull its own weight.

As someone who wholeheartedly believes in the independence of Puerto Rico and as a filmmaker i wanted my film MACHETERO to start a conversation about US colonialism in Puerto Rico even if it meant releasing the film on my own. What other alternative was there? And so i released it knowing that there the odds were slimmer than slim in finding even a kernel of success. Knowing that the endeavor might destroy the 23 years relationship i’ve managed to have with my girlfriend. Knowing that being ignored by the critics and the machinery was all but guaranteed. Knowing that no one really cares about US colonialism in Puerto Rico. Despite all that, i did it anyway.

i knew that not taking the risk of releasing theatrically was a greater failure. i knew that the regret of not taking the risk was and always is greater than the regret of taking the risk. In that respect the act of releasing MACHETERO in a DIY Stylee {sic} is an act of political and artistic defiance. The world may not want to hear about MACHETERO and US colonialism in Puerto Rico but that doesn’t mean silence is an option… Hollywood has a way of mystifying the filmmaking process so that only a select few should make films and an even fewer number of those films that are made should be seen… By all accounts MACHETERO should never have been made or released theatrically, by all accounts, except mine… Che Guevara once said “The guerrilla wins by not losing” and in that respect the DIY release of MACHETERO was an overwhelming success that i could be proud of…

On September 23rd, a national Puerto Rican holiday celebrating a rebellion against Spanish colonial rule, MACHETERO was released on Vimeo On Demand and you can watch it on your TV, Computer, Tablet or Phone…



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