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GFDD and FUNGLODE Dominican Film Showcase draws to a successful close paving the way to a bright future for the DR film industry

July 22, 2011

Washington DC, 7/22/2011
Thought-provoking, entertaining and artfully crafted films defined the first ever Dominican Film Showcase hosted by GFDD and FUNGLODE at the Cine Americas in Washington DC. Over a period of four days, audiences were treated to a sampling of some of the best films produced in the Dominican Republic, by Dominican filmmakers, about Dominican topics. The selected films were Sugar, Love Child, Jean Gentil, and The Republic of Baseball.

On the Showcase’s final night, the upbeat crowd was treated to The Republic of Baseballthe tale of the first baseball superstars from the Dominican Republic — Felipe Alou, Juan Marichl, Manny Mota, and Ozzie Virgil — and how they overcame poverty and dictatorship at home and racism in the United States on their way to greatness in the Major Leagues. Their determination and bravery paved the way for future generations of Dominican ballplayers who in 2011 account for more than 10% of all the players in the US Major Leagues.

A lively and informative Q and A session with the film’s producer, Rob Ruck, followed the screening. One audience member, a Dominican national, said that he had learned more about the history of baseball from this one hour movie than in over 50 years of living in his homeland.

Rob said it was quite incredible that out of the 10% of DR Major Leaguers, a large majority came from San Pedro de Macoris– a town in the Dominican Republic’s southeast coast that has produced more major league baseball players per capita than any other place in the world.

In summing up the Dominican Film Showcase, audience member and OAS staff Ian Edwards enthused “it was a very interesting series of films, and the organizers ought to be proud of their effort to showcase the cinematographic potential of the Dominican Republic. I didn’t get a chance to see all of the films, but saw The Republic of Baseball and portions of Sugar, and found them to be impressive in many respects. I commend the way the writers, producers, protagonists and others explored baseball as an iconic sport for the DR, putting that Caribbean country on the map in terms of producing world-class baseball players. A commendable effort, and kudos to these brave Dominican stars of baseball. It was also a pleasure interacting with Algenis Pérez Soto, who stars in Sugar—a bright young man with a promising future in acting. The Republic of Baseball definitely peeled back the pages of history to give Dominican baseball players their rightful place in the pantheon of ballplayers”.

In her acknowledgements, Director of the GFDD Washington DC Office, Asun Sanz thanked the Dominican Embassy for its unwavering support under current Ambassador Anibal Castro, former Ambassador Roberto Saladin, Cultural Attache, Ligia Reid and Deputy Chief of Mission, Wellington Bencosme. Ms. Sanz also acknowledged the support of the Dominican Mission to the OAS, and its former Ambassador Alcantara, as well as the Museum of the Americas, headed by Lidia Bendersky and her trusted team. She added it was an honor for GFDD and FUNGLODE to have been able to collaborate seamlessly with such effective institutions in an ambitious project which has brought promising results for future film events.

The GFDD Film Showcase, a spearhead initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, in close partnership with the Dominican Embassy to the US, Organization of American States, Art Museum of the Americas and the DR Mission to the OAS, was created to promote and encourage awareness of issues of historic and cultural significance through the DR Film Industry. Film-making, the 7th Art, serves as a stage for dialogue, creates a medium for enhancing social awareness and brings a unique brand of cinema to a wider audience.