A lot of information here, so instead of me summarizing, here are words directly from the filmmaker himself, which are far more personal and thus I believe much more effective than anything I could say…
The film opens this week in NYC, for a 1-week run from June 12th – 19th, at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center Kabayito’s Theater, 107 Suffolk Street.
AWARD WINNING FILM MACHETERO GOES DIY IN NYC
MACHETERO NYC DIY Theatrical Release
The end is near. The wait is almost over. The anticipation is coming to a close. After many long hard years MACHETERO will have it’s DIY theatrical release in NYC in June. The film will have a one week release beginning Wednesday, June 12th and running through Tuesday, June 19th. The run will happen in the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in NYC’s LES (Lower East Side) at 107 Suffolk Street between Rivington and Delancey. Screenings will happen at the Kabayito’s Theater on the second floor of Clement Soto Velez. The film’s running time is 98 minutes and there will be 5 showings a day with screening times at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9pm. Tickets for the screening are $10.
The thought of having someone else distribute this film made me uneasy. i didn’t know if i could trust someone else with it. When i think of the films that had a direct influence on MACHETERO, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, The Battle Of Algiers and The Spook Who Sat By The Door i think about the fate that these films met when they were distributed. Melvin Van Peebles had to self distribute Sweetback because no distributor would take it on. Gillo Portecorvo’s The Battle Of Algiers was banned in France for its unapologetic anti-colonial view. Ivan Dixon and Sam Greenlee’s Spook Who Sat By The Door was banned by the FBI and all its prints burned for fear it would spark revolution in the streets. Walking in the footsteps of those filmmakers and those films, MACHETERO doesn’t pull any punches. It’s openly critical of the US government’s colonization of Puerto Rico. When i think about it, i don’t think there is a single distributor in the US that would actually put this film in theaters. So when i decided to take a DIY approach to distribute the film, i immediately felt much more at ease.
I grew up in the era of Hip-hop and Punk and so i take my DIY very seriously. i made this film with friends and family. Like minded people who wanted to do something radically different. We put art and ideas at the forefront. We reveled in finding ways to create advantages out of our limitations and didn’t hold back in our artistic approach or in our political point of view. Not doing a DIY distribution campaign would be a kind of betrayal to the spirit that the film was made in. MACHETERO is a film about freedom and what could be more free than DIY? What could be more free than the ability to fail or succeed on your own terms?
The film was made in the community, by people from the community, for people in the community. The only way to continue that communal spirit is to sit with other people in a dark theater as the light streams from a projector onto a screen experiencing cinema as it should be experienced as a community… So i’m asking you to support true independent, anti-corporate, anti-Hollywood, filmmaking… Support Puerto Rican filmmaking… Support Afro-Latino filmmaking… Support artistically and politically radical revolutionary filmmaking… Consider this your invitation to the NYC theatrical release of MACHETERO…
MACHETERO is the debut feature film of infamous artist, agitpropagandist, and filmmaker Vagabond. The film stars Isaach de Bankolé, Not4Prophet, Dylcia Pagan and Kelvin Fernandez. Staying true to his DIY (Do It Yourself) Punk roots vagabond is self-releasing MACHETERO at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in the Kabayito’s Theater in New York City’s, Lower East Side. The film opens June 12th and runs through June 19th.
The island nation of Puerto Rico has been a victim of imperialism for over 500 years. It was a colony of Spain for 400 years and has been a colony of the United States since 1898. Puerto Rico is the oldest colony in the world. The fact that it’s a colony of the US, a nation that prides itself on being a champion of freedom and democracy around the world, should not go unnoticed. There has always been a resistance movement in Puerto Rico to US colonialism that has often times been violent. Vagabond’s award winning debut feature film MACHETERO uses the colonial condition of Puerto Rico to explore issues of terrorism and the cyclical nature of the violence that it brings. The film poses questions about what terrorism is in an anti-colonial struggle. It challenges us to ask who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter and how are those terms defined, and by whom…
Written, produced and directed by Vagabond
Starring Isaach De Bankolé, Not4Prophet, Kelvin Fernandez and Dylcia Pagan
Running Time 98 minutes
NYC THEATRICAL RELEASE
June 12th – 19th
Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center
107 Suffolk Street
NY NY 10038
“If you are not profoundly moved by Machetero, check your pulse.”
Bill Quigley, Former Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights
“MACHETERO was riveting…”- Chuck D
In the tradition of Gillo Pontecorvo’s BATTLE OF ALGIERS, Melvin Van Peebles SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSSS SONG and Sam Greenlee’s THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR, Vagabond’s MACHETERO is a meditation on violence as a means toward liberation. French journalist Jean Dumont, played by Isaach de Bankolé (GHOST DOG, 24, CASINO ROYALE, LIMITS OF CONTROL) interviews Pedro Taino a so-called “Puerto Rican Terrorist” played by Not4Prophet (lead singer of the Puerto Punk band RICANSTRUCTION) in a New York prison. Pedro is a self-described Machetero fighting to free Puerto Rico from the yoke of US colonialism. Obsessed with freedom, Jean questions Pedro about his decision to use violence as a means to achieve that freedom.
As Jean and Pedro speak, a Ghetto Youth played by Kelvin Fernandez (in his first starring role) struggles to survive the colonial condition. A revolutionary spirit instilled in him from childhood by a mentor played by former Puerto Rican Political Prisoner of War, Dylcia Pagán (who did 20 years in US prisons) is reawakened after reading a pamphlet authored by Pedro called the Anti-manifesto. The Ghetto Youth then goes on a journey to transform himself into the next Machetero.
MACHETERO is structured around songs from the album, “Liberation Day” by RICANSTRUCTION. The songs are incorporated as a modern day Punk Rock Greek chorus. RICANSTRUCTION also improvised a score for the film that moves from hardcore be-bop punk to layered Afro-Rican rhythms.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Vagabond, writer, producer, director and editor
Vagabond was born in Brooklyn to a Puerto Rican mother and Jamaican father. He attended the School Of Visual Arts for film and video but dropped out to work on Spike Lee’s DO THE RIGHT THING. He’s continued to work in the film industry doing production. He’s produced and directed television for Galavison and SiTV. vagabond is also the co-founder of the RICANSTRUCTION Netwerk an artist collective in the vein of the Situationist International. He’s organized political protests, designed agitprop murals, posters, pamphlets and zines and produced and directed documentaries, music videos and web series. MACHETERO is his debut feature film. It’s won awards in South Africa, Wales, England, Thailand, Ireland and New York.
Vagabond • Writer, Producer, Director and Editor
Not4Prophet • Writer of the Anti-Manifesto
Resister Fernandez • Co-Producer
Jeff “AK” Akers • Cinematographer
RICANSTRUCTION • Songs and Score (featuring songs from the album Liberation Day)
Jo Cunningham • Sound Design
Isaach De Bankolé • Jean Dumont
Not4Prophet • Pedro Taino
Kelvin Fernandez • The Young Rebel
Dylcia Pagán • The Mentor
International Film Festival South Africa – October 2008
BEST FIRST FILM
Swansea Bay Film Festival (Wales UK) – June 2009
BEST FIRST FILM
Heart Of England International Film Festival – June 2009
BEST FIRST FILM – USA
Thai International Film Festival – August 2009
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
International Film Festival Ireland – September – 2009
BEST FILM – North America
New York Independent International Film & Video Festival – October -2010
BEST DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
And with that, check out the trailer for what obviously looks and sounds like an incendiary piece of cinema in Machetero below: