Valor & Sacrifice
"Valor & Sacrifice" is a bilingual period piece drama film based on true Puerto Rican history. In 1930's Puerto Rico, an island-wide labor strike against the U.S. banks that controlled sugar cane plantations in the nation was led by a passionate policital leader named Pedro Albizu Campos. In response, the American police chief of Puerto Rico: Colonel E. Francis Riggs requested a meeting with Albizu Campos. During this meeting, a bribe was offered in an attempt to end the labor strikes. If Pedro allowed the U.S. to take control of the situation, they promised to offer him immense campaign financing and a pathway to become the first elected governor of Puerto Rico. The short film focuses on this meeting and the difficult decision a man has to make between legacy and morals.
This project was developed and completed for my final NYU production class: Intermediate Narrative Workshop with Professor Alrick Brown (Kinyarwanda, 2011) in spring 2021. Due to the pandemic, this class occurred virtually and I prepared for and shot this film in Kent, WA with strict production guidelines provided by the university. I was only allowed five people on set including myself, which meant the only help I got on the project in the form of a "crew" was from my cinematographer: Troy Dobbertin. The only other three people on set were my wonderful actors. Along with the capacity rules, the film had to be shot with everyone maintaining six feet of distance at all times and masks were on always except when an actor was speaking on camera. It was certainly a challenge to make the short under these conditions, but even harder to shoot and edit in such a way that these restrictions weren't noticeable or impacted the quality of the storytelling. For these reasons, I am very proud of what we were able to create given the circumstances.
Creating this film was an opportunity for me to learn about Puerto Rican History and connect to a huge part of my identity I never felt that in tune with growing up (my Latino heritage). The goal is to utilize this short film as a proof of concept to develop a feature or series about Pedro Albizu Campos and this period in Puerto Rican history.
"Valor & Sacrifice" was awarded the first prize Kalborg Award at the NYU New Visions and Voices Film Festival, and it won several craft awards at that same festival. Additionally, the short was officially selected for the 2022 National Film Festival for Talented Youth, as well as the 2021 Seattle Latino Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival, and International Social Change Film Festival.