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Dominican Productions “Woodpeckers” and “Jeffrey” at the Havana Film Festival, in collaboration with the DFS and the DR Film Commission

April 2, 2017

New York – The Dominican films Woodpeckers and Jeffrey are part of the program of the eighteenth edition of the Havana Film Festival, an internationally recognized film festival that celebrates Latin American cinema. Thanks to the support of the Dominican Film Showcase of GFDD and the Dominican Republic Film Commission (DGCine), both productions are premiering in New York accompanied by José María Cabral and Yanillis Pérez, the directors of the productions, respectively.

Last Friday, Woodpeckers was screened at SVA TEATRO, with the presence of its director, José María Cabral, who in the question and answer session commented that making the film was “a great challenge filming in the prisons of the Victoria and Najayo (men and women) where the overpopulation of prisoners generated a lot of stress at the beginning; some of them did not want to be filmed, but after the theme of the movie was explained, they accepted and were very interested in participating.”

On the other hand, Yanillis Pérez, after Jeffrey’s screening on Saturday, explained that the film began as a short film, “but in the end the shooting lasted 3 years and a feature film came out. Following the life of the boy and understanding his reality and sharing it with the world has been a very enriching experience for us all. ”

As Yamile Eusebio, GFDD acting co-executive director, explained, this type of event aims to “facilitate the enrichment of the film culture of the Dominican Republic and bring its unique brand of cinema to a wider audience as well as utilize the seventh art as a platform for discussion and as a medium for enhancing social awareness and promoting constructive change.”

Cuban film Estaban inaugurates the Festival
The powerful, inspirational and emotional story of “Esteban”, a poor kid raised in Havana, Cuba, who had a dream of becoming a pianist,  was the great protagonist for the opening night for the 18th edition Havana Film Festival New York at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Theater, located in Manhattan.

Carole Rosenberg, president of the American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba (AFLFC), under whose auspices the New York festival, offered welcoming words and showed her gratitude towards film makers, producers, institutions and volunteers that keep making countless contributions to Arts and Culture. “I applaud all the movie creators, people, friends, institutions and friends that work with love and responsibility to offer the best to audiences for the success of this festival. I know that you are going to enjoy it, I promise you’re going to have fun”, said Rosenberg.

 Diana Vargas, who has been part of HFFNY’s team since 2001, affirmed that this event is a celebration for the latino community all over the world and is one the best ways for movies lovers in the big apple to discover new universes and get closer to other souls.

Before the presentation of the opening film, its director Jonal Cosculluela, stated that he believed “this movie was made with love, passion and desire” because it was the first time for 99 percent of the production team to work on a film. This piece of art had original music by Afro-Latin jazz superstar Chucho Valdés, who was also present at the inauguration along with directors like Patricia Ramos, Jose Maria Cabral, Flavio Florencio, Martín Rosete and others.

About the movies


 A young man finds love in a Dominican Republic prison in this fresh and indelible film burgeoning with atmosphere, sexuality and grit.


Jeffrey is a 12-year-old street windshield washer in Santo Domingo who yearns to become a reggaeton singer. With the help of his older brother, he composes and records songs about his life, his neighborhood, and his dreams for a better future.

About the directors
Yanillys Pérez is a Director, Writer, Producer and Actress. Her experience as an actress, her passion for cinema and her eagerness helped her to approach filmmaking. In 2011 she was part of the Golden Globe winner film “Carlos” by Olivier Assayas, selected in Cannes 2010. In 2014, Pérez wrote, produced and directed Techos Rotos (Broken Ceilings), a short film made in the Dominican Republic with a French co-production. She is oneof  six directors selected for “Project Involve 2016” for independent films.

José María Cabral (born in Santo Domingo in 1988) started making films when he was 16 years old, and he has produced, directed, and written several features. His film Jaque Mate! (2012) was selected as the Dominican entry for the foreign language film Academy Award. Cabral is now promoting his new feature drama, Carpinteros, which is about the realities and relationships of prisoners in Dominican jails.

About the Havana Film Festival
Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) is an internationally recognized film festival celebrating Latin American cinema. In its 18th anniversary, HFFNY features more than 40 films from the most exciting cinematic talent from the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Venezuela and the United States. HFFNY upholds the reputation for which it is known: enriching and expanding the vision of Latino culture in the United States.

About DFS
The Dominican Film Showcase contributes to the dissemination of the best contemporary films produced in the Dominican Republic, by Dominican filmmakers, about Dominican topics. In its mission to promote the knowledge and appreciation of Dominican culture as well as to inspire Dominican filmmakers to reach out internationally, GFDD partners with institutions worldwide and creates opportunities for wide audiences to learn about Dominican culture, enjoy its art, and engage in conversations with filmmakers.

Other Screenings

  • Wednesday, April 5, AMC LOEWS 34ST, 5:00 pm: Woodpeckers
  • Thursday, April 6, AMC LOEWS 34ST, 1:00 pm: Jeffrey


Entire program available at: