A window into Puerto Rican literary culture in New York


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AWARD WINNER - 1995 New Voices Film Festival

Puerto Rican Studies • New York Literary Scene Latin • U.S. Poetry & Literature • Urban Voices

Date of Completion: 1994 | Run Time: 14 minutes​​ | Language: English with sparse Spanish subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript | Director: Ray Santisteban | Producer: Ray Santisteban

This award-winning short film highlights the rich history and vibrant present of New York’s acclaimed NUYORICAN POETS CAFÉ. Featuring veteran/founding poets like Miguel Algarin and Pedro Pietri, the film also showcases a new generation of wordsmiths, featuring Willie Perdomo and Carmen Bardeguez-Brown and includes poetry reading in the raucus Cafe’s open mic night and stylized renditions of iconic poems like Perdro Pietri’s “Puerto Rican Obituarty”. Puerto Rican cultural and literary traditions are explored, as is the unlikely mentorship of a young Willie Perdomo by a school custodian into the world of poetry.

Award Winner | 1995 New Voices Film Festival, Los Angeles

Independent filmmaker Ray Santisteban has worked for the past twenty-six years as a documentary filmmaker. His work consistently explores activist and artist profiles, addressing the themes of justice, memory and political transformation. A graduate of NYU's film and TV production program, he has explored a variety of subjects, including New York Black Panther leader Dhoruba Bin Wahad - PASSIN' IT ON (Co-producer), the roots of Puerto Rican poetry in NUYORICAN POETS CAFE (1994, Director, Producer, Editor), Chicano poetry in VOICES FROM TEXAS (2003, Director, Producer) and VISIONES: LATINO ART AND CULTURE IN THE U.S. (Senior Producer), a three hour PBS series nationally broadcast in 2004. He recently directed and produced THE FIRST RAINBOW COALITION.

Ray's body of work has put him in contact with some of the most well known and well respected activists of the 1960s. He provides audiences with a range of knowledge on grassroots movements of the 1960s and a window into how those movements work today.
Awards garnered include: 1992 Student Academy Award, a 1993 New York Foundation for the Arts Media Fellowship, a 1996 "Ideas in Action" Award from the National Tele-Media Alliance, a 1996 "Faculty of the Year" Award from the Chicano Studies Program at UW Madison, a 2005 Rockefeller Film and Video Fellowship, a 2008 and 2016 San Antonio Artists Foundation Filmmaker Award, and a 2016 Tobin Award for Artistic Excellence.