At one point, in the history of New York City and especially in Harlem, the Puerto Rican population was significant because of the migration that began in the 19th century when they were persuaded to leave their island, Puerto Rico, for better-paying jobs in the U.S. The majority settled in East Harlem, El Barrio, and today those same streets are mostly inhabited by Puerto Ricans, with a sizable number of Dominican, Cuban and Mexican immigrants.
Enter the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival. Now in its 12th year, it’s clear on its mission to create platforms that allow a diverse pool of influencers in filmmaking to reach a broader audience. They develop programs that allow local and international filmmakers, from emerging artists to film industry veterans, to reach out to audiences throughout New York City and beyond.
This year, IPRHFF honored Rosie Perez with a lifetime achievement award and the screening included 75 independent films, shorts, web series and music videos from across the world.
In accepting her 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award at El Museo De Barrio, the award-winning actress offered this in her warm and often very funny acceptance speech: “I’m not going to lie. It’s tough. It’s hard. Especially for us. But don’t give up. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Know who you are…know the business inside and out…also, don’t be afraid to expand certain narratives that need to be told. Certain narratives are not just specific to our community but narratives that are very specific just to the human spirit and human condition. Because that’s what storytelling is all about. It’s about human beings.”
One of the short films that stood head-and-shoulders above the rest was “Daughter of the Sea” written and directed by Alexis C. Garcia. The film stars Puerto Rican American superstar, Princess Nokia, as a young woman who receives a spiritual calling from Yemaya and is filmed on-location in Puerto Rico. It won Best Live Action Short.

Here are the winners for IPRHFF, which doubled last year’s attendance this year.

Best Animation: “The Walls”
Best Student Film: “Tip Your Pizza Guy”
Best Music Video: “Round and Round”
Best Live Action Short: “Daughter of the Sea”
Honorable Mention: “May I Take It Your Plate?”
Honorable Mention: “The Fix”
Best Documentary Short: “Puntadas Invisibles”
Honorable Mention: “Villas Pesqueras”
Honorable Mention: “Simple Locura: Henry Cole”
Best Web-series: “Slimies”
Honorable Mention: “Dad-raphy”
Best Documentary: “The Biggest Dream”
Honorable Mention: “Silent Beauty”
Honorable Mention: “Stewards of the Land”
Best Narrative Feature: “Mixtape”
Honorable Mention: “Planet b234 Estrella Borinqueña: Memorias de Mi Familia”
Best Experimental Film: “AVA”
Best Director: Luis Enrique Rodríguez, “Todo Por Amor”
Best Actress: Juliana Rivera, “Todo Por Amor”
Best Actor: Martín Solá, “May I Take It Your Plate?”
Audience Choice Award: “For Those to Come” (“Por Los Que Vienen”)

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