My films have screened in nation and international film festivals and on American television. Some of them have won some awards, which is always nice. I direct both narrative fiction and documentary. But for me, the pursuit of a perceptual truth is the same for either genre and approach.
My latest film is Transmigration. For Curtis Marcone, a man with too much on his mind, and too much personal baggage to carry around, a spontaneous adventure to the Amazon is a necessary trip to get some distance from it all. There he finds his long-lost brother (from another mother). Just when he thinks he has discovered blissful paradise in the wild, bad things happen. A snake bite infects his mind with an eternal gynophobic nightmare. Curtis transmigrates to a dream world that is the psychoanalytic underbelly of men's fear of women, nature and their own frail masculinity. Transmigration is now finding its audience with film festivals. A commercial release plan will soon be announced.
A few years ago, I journeyed to Cuba and made a documentary about the seawall in Havana that protects the city from the ravaging waves of the sea. What I discovered was how architecture can inspire personal meanings for those who occupy it. Portraits on the Malecón is about a great wall that overlooks the sea, and the people who are passionate about it.
Not long ago, I had two friends in the same month confess to me that they were both infected with an STD. Neither had dated seriously in years. I wondered what would happen if they met each other. How would it feel to risk rejection for telling the truth? And if the relationship got hotter, when would the truth be told, and what would be the consequence? And then to explode the story a little more, the one person who might convince them to do right is a cynical therapist who makes his living consoling these infected liars. This slightly perverse tale became the script for Disclosures.
During the first recent backlash (against immigrants) of 2005, I made a film that has appeared in festvals in the U.S. and Brazil from 2006 through 2008. Nailed! is a romantic crime story that follows the trevails of Branca, a Brazilian immigrant woman, in her struggle to become a "legal" resident. She gets romantically entangled with her Green Card forger who intends to swindle her out of payment for marriage and a Green Card. My co-writer, Loretta Paraguassu and wife, Flavia Silva Schiffer, all have very personal experiences that surface in the film.
One of the most widely seen films I have made is Comeuppance, a fiction film about a black-woman spoken-word poet who writes a piece inspired by a hate crime. After a couple years of festival screenings, (It won a Special Jury Prize at one festival), the film aired on the Black Family Channel in December of 2006.
Some may also know my work through a quirky documentary I made about a New York band that played lounge cover versions of hard core punk songs of the 1980s. That film is called The Rise and Fall of Black Velvet Flag. There is also a game I co-created for a CD the band recorded (but sadly never released). I re-programmed it for the Internet.
The other most widely seen of my films is Memories of Tata, a documentary about a Central American family (my own) and its survival of machismo, manhood and death in the legacy of patriarchal latino culture. The documentary aired on PBS in June of 1994 and played on most U.S. public television stations until 1998.