Tag Archives: RICANSTRUCTION

MACHETERO PRODUCTION STILLS


If you haven’t seen my film MACHETERO yet, maybe this collection of production stills will pique your interest…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1t4

 

The Liberation Day Tapes


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The genome of my six-time international award-winning feature film MACHETERO can be mapped right back to the NYC hardcore Puerto Rican punk band RICANSTRUCTION and their first album Liberation Day. When i write i often build a soundtrack to use as an emotional roadmap to guide me through the construction of the script. i often see songs as short stories or reinterpret them as short stories and i take those short stories and try to include them in my writing process.

MACHETERO is a film about terrorism and terrorists and how those terms are defined and by whom. The script was written a year after the terrorist events of September 11, 2001. i was waiting for a more nuanced analysis of those events to take place on a larger scale but they never did and so i wrote the script for MACHETERO and decided to explore those issues in a film. The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 were polarizing and so referencing them in the script seemed counterproductive so i decided to use the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence and the use of violence in that struggle as a means of liberation to talk about terrorism and terrorists.

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RICANSTRUCTION’s Liberation Day was a concept album based around the Puerto Rican independence struggle. So when i was looking for music to inspire my scriptwriting for MACHETERO i was immediately drawn to Liberation Day. The songs from Liberation Day started to insinuate themselves into the script and they eventually became a part of the structure of the film.

At the end of the final sound mix for MACHETERO my friend and fellow filmmaker Omar came by and brought his camera to interview Arturo and Joseph Rodriguez about how Liberation Day came into being. Artie and Joey talk about how RICANSTRUCTION came about and how the concept for Liberation Day took shape. Arturo and Joseph talk about the ideas and the creation of each song and afterward there is the corresponding scene from MACHETERO.

Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION
Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION

RICANSTRUCTION’s Liberation Day is available on iTunes and i highly recommend picking it up. You can hear all the influences of Jazz, Funk, Salsa, Hip hop, Reggae and Merengue placed into a hardcore punk setting in the music of RICANSTRUCTION. The rest of their catalog – the EP Abu Jamal and their 2nd album Love + Revolution are also on iTunes.

You can watch The Liberation Day Tapes on the Vimeo On Demand page for MACHETERO. The Liberation Day Tapes are part of a collection of extra videos that give some background information on the film and that are free to watch. There is also a radio interview i did with Chuck D about the film and an interview i did with Sam Greenlee the author and co-screenwriter of The Spook Who Sat By The Door. There is also a scene from the film featuring former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war Dylcia Pagan who plays a pivotal role in the film.

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

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1sT

Asking For Mercy From The Victims Of Violence


Prison Interview Rehearsal with Isaach de Bankolé, vagabond & Not4Prophet
Prison Interview Rehearsal with Isaach de Bankolé, vagabond & Not4Prophet

This is another excerpt from the script of the six-time award-winning film MACHETERO. Watch it VOD as a rental for 48 hours or download it to own it.

TRAILER

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CONTEXT ON THE SCRIPT EXCERPT

For some context to the script excerpt below… Jean is a French journalist who is interviewing Pedro about his decision to use violence as a means of liberating Puerto Rico from US colonialism. The interview takes place in a prison where Pedro is being held for trying to overthrow the US government in Puerto Rico. Pedro describes himself as a Machetero, a historical and cultural symbol of resistance to colonialism in Puerto Rico.

In the film the questions and answers are all in voice over with other images contrasting the dialogue. This scene is the climax of the film where for the first time we see and hear Jean and Pedro face to face and understand for the first time that the interview we have been hearing all along is this interview. In the film this dialogue goes on for much longer than is here so if this interests you consider renting or buying MACHETERO digitally…

Jean in the film is played by international film star Isaach de Bankolé who you may recognize from such films as Ghost Dog, Manderlay, The Limits Of Control, night On Earth, Chocolat and Casino Royale. Pedro is played by lead singer of Puerto Rican punk band RICANSTRUCTION and MC of the hip hop duo X-Vandals, Not4Prophet. MACHETERO’s story revolves around this interview between Jean and Pedro.

EXCERPT FROM THE SCRIPT
JEAN AND PEDRO FACE TO FACE

JEAN
The US government has a policy of not making deals with terrorists.

PEDRO
“For the strong to hear the weak their ears will have to be opened with bullets” – Albizu.

JEAN
You had to know that you would have been caught eventually.

PEDRO
“It took seven of them to break my jaw, but the power of the whole American empire could not break my spirit.” – Rafa

JEAN
Sedition is a crime punishable by death in this country.

PEDRO
“I didn’t come to kill I came to die.” – Lolita.

JEAN
So you thought you could change the mind of the US congress with bullets? How will violence liberate you? Hasn’t the time of political power through violence passed? Haven’t the examples of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and even someone still here with us today Nelson Mandela shown us a new way? In South Africa black Africans are forgiving their white oppressors in an attempt to break this cycle of violence and hatred. Do you really believe violence will change anything?

PEDRO
Are you asking for mercy from the victims of violence? Have you asked those who want me dead, to show me mercy?

JEAN
Are you asking for mercy? Are you asking your oppressor for your freedom?

PEDRO
My freedom is not something that my oppressors can give me. My freedom is something that I take.

JEAN
Killing US congressmen and CEO’s and bombing US military targets is taking your freedom?

PEDRO
Yes.

JEAN
Your freedom? Doesn’t that sound egotistical, self-centered and selfish? Is that what this is all about? Your freedom? I thought you were fighting for more than that? I thought you were fighting for the freedom of your country. I thought you were fighting for ideals. I thought you were fighting for something greater than yourself.

PEDRO
No one is free until all of us are free. Steven Biko said “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” The decolonization of self is the decolonization of the nationless nation.

STILLS FROM THE PRISON SET

These are some stills taken from the prison set which was shot in an actual prison. The prison is the old Bronx House of Detention on River Ave just a stones throw from the old Yankee Stadium. The Bronx House of Detention is now gone. Replaced by a shopping mall. A Target now sits in its place.

TRAILER

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GOOGLE VOD & DOWNLOAD

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1oj

Love+Revolution


Not4Prophet on bench by Jeff "AK" Akers
Not4Prophet on bench by Jeff “AK” Akers

LOVE+REVOLUTION is my latest short film. i’ve been working with 2Leaf Press a scrappy little publisher that’s putting out some incredible work both by the iconic old guard old school poets and writers that other publishers have chosen to  ignore for decades like original Nuyorican Poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez and by fresh and exciting new up and coming writers that publishers refuse to gamble on like Not4Prophet. This short film is a promotional piece i did for Not4Prophet’s new book of poetry Last Of The Po’Ricans Y Otras Afro-artifacts, to be released November 25th, 2013. It’s an excerpt from his poem Love+Revolution.

For those who like to dig Love+Revolution was originally recorded as a song by the NYC Puerto Rican punk band RICANSTRUCTION. Not4Prophet was the lead vocalist and lyricist of RICANSTRUCTION. The song was the tittle track to the album and featured Chuck D of Public Enemy. The video highlight’s Not4Prophet’s aggressive rapid fire punk delivery and smooth hip-hop flow and if you listen carefully enough you’ll hear these influences melding together. You can cop RICANSTRUCTION’s Love+Revolution on iTunes. You can also check Not4Prophet’s website AGITARMY.ORG.

The video was shot by my long time DP (Director Of Photography) and best friend Jeff “AK” Akers. Jeff knows how to make beautiful images with less than nothing. HIs sense of space and composition and tone is always in synch with whatever we are shooting. He shot this with nothing but available light. It’s amazing what someone like Jeff “AK” can do when you get out of their way and them him do what they do best. You can see from the beautiful images he’s created here why i trust him so implicitly.

Below are some still images that were pulled right from the video. You see the raw talent that Jeff “AK” has and that i’m blessed to have the opportunity to both work with and have the privilege to call a best friend… Check out his website Brainwashed Films and see some of his other work… For more of the video work that i’ve been doing with 2Leaf Press you can check out the Vimeo album i created…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1bM

Radical Politics Radical Filmmaking On The Streets Of NY


Isaach de Bankholé as Jean Dumont The Journalist
Isaach de Bankholé as Jean Dumont The Journalist

Machetero, is a film whose guerrilla production matches both the film’s visual aesthetic and its narrative. It tells two stories concurrently: one in which imprisoned revolutionary Pedro Taino (Not4Prophet) is interviewed by a journalist (Jarmush regular Isaach De Bankolé, pictured), and the other about the political awakening of a young man (Kelvin Fernandez) on the streets of New York. As directed and written by Vagabond, Machetero’s radical politics extend to the film’s non-linear narrative, and its use of on-screen titles, foregrounding the revolutionary literature passed amongst the characters, as well as lyrics from the soundtrack by the NYC-based band Ricanstruction (of which Not4Prophet is the lead singer). Recently, I spoke to Vagabond about the film’s intersections of art and politics.” – Cullen Gallagher

Could you say a little about the word “Machetero,” where it comes from, and why you chose it as your title?
The direct Spanish translation of the word “machetero” is someone who works with a machete. However, there is a cultural definition to the word that is unique to Puerto Rico. The “Macheteros” were sugarcane field workers who fought against Spanish colonial rule, and when the US invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 during the Spanish-American war, they fought against the Americans as well. In the late 1960s, Puerto Rican independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios started a clandestine armed organization called “Ejercito Popular Boricua” (“Popular Puerto Rican Army”). Puerto Ricans throughout the Diaspora called them “Macheteros”.

The title of the film comes from a saying the Macheteros had, “¡Todo Boricua Machetero!” (“All Puerto Ricans Are Machetero!”) which connected Puerto Ricans to their revolutionary past. When I thought more about that saying, it seemed to me that what the EPB was trying to do was to create this idea of the Machetero as warrior and protector of the Puerto Rican people in much the same way that the Samurai is in Japan.

How did the revolutionary politics of the film affect your aesthetic approach to the film?
The film had to be radically unconventional in the same way that guerrilla warfare is radically unconventional. The reason revolutionaries use guerrilla tactics is because they don’t have access to fighter jets or tanks, so they make do with what they have. They become resourceful with their tactics in order to achieve their goals. It was the same with making Machetero. The structure of the film was devised in a way to make the shooing of the film easier. The use of voice-over in the film allowed us to shoot most of the film without having to worry or rely too much on shooting sync sound. The voice-over dialogue was recorded first so that we could juxtapose images against it. As a result, we could shift images and timelines around because the voice-over dialogue was the foundation from which the rest of the film was built on. As long as the voice-over dialogue had some sense of continuity, the images that accompany it had a freedom that could not otherwise be afforded to us if we shot the film conventionally. Since the film thematically is about finding a way to achieve freedom, it only enhanced the theme to have a certain freedom in the narrative structure to the film. The on-screen titles were also another way of playing with the narrative structure in the film, since many of them either allude to character and time or thematic issues the film raises. The subject matter of revolution doesn’t allow for conventional filmmaking or conventional storytelling.

How do you see your film fitting into the larger framework of politicized cinema? You mention Solanas and Getino’s essay “Towards a Third Cinema” on your website, but I was also reminded of Paradise Now.
I actually read Solanas and Getino’s “Towards A Third Cinema” toward the end of making Machetero. I came across the essay and immediately thought that this is what Machetero is. For those not familiar with Third Cinema, First Cinema is Hollywood commercial film and Second Cinema is the European art film or the European auteur film. Third Cinema is a response from the third world to create a cinema that would reflect the reality of poor and struggling people and inspire them to extricate themselves from whatever situation oppresses them. When the essay was initially written, it was calling for third world filmmakers to create a cinema that was reflective of their reality. Although I was born in Brooklyn and have lived in the US all my life, and a majority of Machetero was made here in the US, the colonial condition that Puerto Ricans have lived under both on the island and in the US has been one of third world proportions, so I felt comfortable relating Machetero to Third Cinema.

I made Machetero to raise questions about the way in which the labels like “terrorist” and “terrorism” are used and what that means to people who may feel that the only means to free themselves from these oppressive situations is to use violence. That violence is often described and defined by the state and its media apparatus as “terrorism”. One of the ideas that I’m trying to put forward in Machetero is that violence is a language that oppressors choose to use and that those who struggle against it and respond in kind are speaking the same language as their oppressors in an effort to get them to use another means of communication. However this decision to use violence as a means of communication is not a decision that oppressed people come to easily. This may be where you see a parallel to Hany Abu Assad’s film Paradise Now, which was definitely a source of inspiration for Machetero.

In recent years there has been much controversy surrounding rights of filmmakers to shoot on the streets of New York. As an independent filmmaker, what was your experience like?
One of the things I do to make a living is provide location services to production companies, so I know what I can get away with and what I can’t get away with or at least how much of a risk I’m taking if I do decide to work outside “the regulations” or “the law.” I shot everything but one scene in Machetero without permits or permission. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have problems with the police. There were five different encounters with law enforcement that varied from simply hiding from the cops to being arrested. Before I madeMachetero I wrote a manifesto called “Illegalist Cinema: The Cinema of Cine-automatic” that put art before legality in the filmmaking process.

Over the years I’ve seen the tightening restrictions that the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting has put on independent filmmakers. It used to be easier to make a film in this town but lately it’s been getting harder and harder. That being said the Mayor’s Office still needs to make it easy enough for larger productions to come to the city and shoot, and as an independent filmmaker it’s important to exploit some of those incentives to our own benefit.

This interview was first published in L Magazine here

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

If you’re on Facebook Check out our MACHETERO Facebook Page and check out the Facebook Event page… 

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-16z

Civil Rights Lawyer Bill Quigley on MACHETERO


Bill Quigley on MACHETERO
Bill Quigley on MACHETERO

Machetero is a provocative, gritty, suspenseful story examining the power of revolutionary violence through the lens of a man named Pedro and his actions for Puerto Rican independence. Pedro is an imprisoned jesus-like revolutionary. Embracing violence in the cause of freedom, the movie shows Pedro making a pipe bomb to use on the Fourth of July against a US military recruitment center. From there Pedro proceeds to assassinate several congressmen and a Puerto Rican CEO. In this movie, the American Dream is actually a nightmare of bad schools, brutal racist cops, drug dealers, prison cells and tenements – both in the U.S. and in P.R. Supported by an astounding soundtrack by Ricanstruction, Machetero is also intercut with powerful revolutionary poetry. Pedro, who never saw the inside of a library until prison, is questioned by a French journalist about why he uses violence in the cause of freedom. Called a terrorist by many, he sees himself as one in a long line of freedom fighters. If you are not profoundly moved by Machetero, check your pulse.” – Bill Quigley

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

If you’re on Facebook Check out our MACHETERO Facebook Page and check out the Facebook Event page… 

The following was taken from Bill Quigley’s wordpress site...
Bill Quigley is a law professor and Director of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice  and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans. Bill has been an active public interest lawyer since 1977. Bill has served as counsel with a wide range of public interest organizations on issues including human rights, Katrina social justice issues, public housing, voting rights, death penalty, living wage, civil liberties, educational reform, constitutional rights and civil disobedience. Bill served as the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights for two years and has litigated numerous cases with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the Advancement Project, and with the ACLU of Louisiana, for which he served as General Counsel for 15 years.

Bill teaches in the clinic and also teaches courses in Law and Poverty, Social Justice Lawyering, Community Lawyering, and Catholic Social Teaching and Law. His research and writing has focused on living wage, the right to a job, legal services, community organizing as part of effective lawyering, civil disobedience, high stakes testing, international human rights, revolutionary lawyering and a continuing history of how the laws have regulated the poor since colonial times. He has served as an advisor on human and civil rights to Human Rights Watch USA, Amnesty International USA, and served as the Chair of the Louisiana Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights. He has also been an active volunteer lawyer with School of the Americas Watch and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

Bill is the author of Ending Poverty As We Know It: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job At A Living Wage (Temple University Press, 2003) and Storms Still Raging: Katrina, New Orleans and Social Justice (2008). In 2003, he was named the Pope Paul VI National Teacher of Peace by Pax Christi USA. He is the recipient of the 2004 SALT Teaching Award presented by the Society of American Law Teachers; the 2006 Camille Gravel Civil Pro Bono Award from the Federal Bar Association New Orleans; the 2006 Stanford Law School National Public Service Award; the 2006 National Lawyers Guild Ernie Goodman award; the 2007 University of California School of Law, Boalt Hall, Social Justice Scholar in Residence; the 2009 Northeastern University School of Law Daynard Public Interest Visiting Fellow; the 2011 Activist-Scholar Award of the Urban Affairs Association; and the 2011 Fordham University School of Law Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Award.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-16w

Chuck D Interviews vagabond


Chuck-D-Interviews-vagabond

“MACHETERO is Riveting”
-Chuck D

A few years ago i was interviewed by Chuck D on his Air America radio show On The Real… This was right after i had screened the film at the NY international Latino Film Festival in 2010. The interview still has some relevance and i got good feedback on it when it first aired so i’m sharing it here now, seeing as how i’m self-releasing MACHETERO in NYC June 12th – 19th…

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10 http://machetero.bpt.me
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

For more info www.machetero-movie.com

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-16c