The famous Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City jump-starts Rosie Perez's witty take on Puerto Rican culture. The parade marches to its own ecstatic beat, as does its people through triumph and indignity. Perez, the Academy Award®-nominated actress turned filmmaker, never lets the footing get too heavy. She and codirector Oscar®-nominated documentarian Liz Garbus enlighten through humor and Perez's own sparkling presence. Weaving snippets of Perez and her family with thought-provoking history narrated by actor Jimmy Smits, the filmmakers render a pastiche of unbridled optimism. The title is a contagious colloquial chant of the island's indigenous people, the Taíno. Puerto Ricans do not doubt their identity, the subjects of the film tell us, but they are determined to let the rest of the world know who they are. Pride, often an overused word, comes alive in a documentary that goes down as easily as a frothy cocktail-and still packs a punch. American exploitation and the fight for political clout are no laughing matters but Boricua shows that toughness sometimes means laughing in the face of such obstacles. In one funny bit, Perez encounters an acute case of mistaken perception on her way to a speaking engagement. As her brethren illustrate throughout the film, the show must go on. Puerto Ricans' contributions to the arts and their inextricable link to New York City (Perez grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, just so you know!) reveal the beating heart of a small island whose arteries course throughout society.
Featuring an impressive pool of talent, Yo Soy Boricua, Pa' Que Tu Lo Sepas! is a documentary about Puerto Rican pride and the island's relations with America, directed by Academy Award®-nominated actress Rosie Perez and Academy Award®-nominated producer and director Liz Garbus. Perez, most recently seen in the award-winning film Lackawanna Blues and also acclaimed as an Emmy-nominated choreographer, makes her directorial debut with this film about culture and heritage. Garbus, also an Emmy Award winner and a recipient of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, has produced documentaries on a wide array of subjects. In 1998, she directed The Farm: Angola, USA, which garnered international attention, and before that explored such issues as the juvenile justice system, the death penalty, the entertainment industry, prostitution and the Holocaust. Garbus is the co-founder of the New York City-based Moxie Firecracker Films. Perez is a regular performer on Broadway and has been an outspoken activist on issues affecting both AIDS victims and inner city youth.