Puerto Rico: Filming Resistance and Survival followed by Q&A with filmmaker Juan C. Dávila Santiago and activist Marisel Robles Gutiérrez, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), DNA's Comedy Lab, Santa Cruz

March 03, 2020


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This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Please join us at DNA's Comedy Lab located at 155 South River Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

Garage parking is available nearby at River Front Garage (61 River St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060).

Remember to vote early on March 3! 

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Program begins at 7:00 p.m. We kindly request you arrive early. Anyone arriving after 7:00 p.m. risks losing their seat. 

Event Schedule

6:30 p.m. – Doors Open (snacks available for purchase)

7:00–9:00 p.m. – Film Screening

9:00–9:30 p.m.  UC Santa Cruz Professor Jennifer Maytorena Taylor (Social Documentation) will offer remarks and introduce Professor B. Ruby Rich (Film and Digital Media) who will facilitate the Q&A with film director Juan C. Dávila and activist Marisel Robles Gutiérrez.

About the event

For the last four years, Puerto Ricans have experienced challenges that will leave an indelible mark on their collective memory and history. In 2016, the U.S. government started to implement extreme austerity measures on the island and in 2017, the island experienced one of the most devastating hurricanes from the past 100 years. In 2019, weeks of massive street protests resulted in the successful ouster of former governor Ricardo Rosselló, the first governor to ever resign in Puerto Rico’s history. Over the course of this period, filmmaker Juan C. Dávila has been traveling back-and-forth to Puerto Rico to film these historic moments in Puerto Rican history. This event will showcase his most important work from this time.

Born, raised, and graduating from college in Puerto Rico, Dávila is able to provide a unique perspective through his camera lens. Filming under disaster conditions and getting tear gassed by Puerto Rican special forces, Dávila has risked his life many times to film this footage. The films showed at the event will reveal both an evolution in Dávila’s filmmaking craft, alongside the emergence of some of the most important resistance movements taking place in Puerto Rico.

As part of the program, we will screen a short film as well as a work-in-progress about his new upcoming long-form film project, which follows the resistance movement #SeAcabaronLasPromesas (The Promises Are Over), a movement that was born in 2016 in opposition to the new colonial measures imposed by the U.S. Congress over Puerto Rico. Dávila explores the organization of the movement as they occupy the streets, and engage in the necessary community work that is part of any social movement uprising. The films capture the voices of the young and unemployed, the elderly without pensions, the peasants without land, the communities without schools, and the survivors of over 500 years of colonialism. This advance screening of Puerto Rican films is not to be missed!

Invited Guests

jcdavila.jpgBorn in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Juan C. Dávila Santiago is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, multi-media journalist, and PhD student of Latin American and Latinx Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Dávila Santiago has directed two feature documentary films: Compañeros de lucha (2012) and Vieques: una batalla inconclusa (2016). Dávila Santiago currently works as a correspondent for Democracy Now! and his work has also been featured in TeleSur, the Huffington Post, and The Washington Post. He holds a Bachelor in Arts of Communication from Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico (2011) and a Master of Arts in Social Documentation from UC Santa Cruz (2015). Currently, he is the artist in residence of Agitarte, a cultural organization of working-class artists based in Puerto Rico, whose work focuses on supporting grassroots social movements, and agitating for liberation.

mariselrobles-1.jpgMarisel Robles Gutiérrez is an activist and organizer from the movement “Jornada se acabaron las promesas.” She was born and raised in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez, she actively participatied in the student strike of 2010. Robles Gutiérrez began her radical political formation with the International Socialist Organization (OSI in Spanish), and became a central figure in developing “Jornada Se Acabaron Las Promesas,” which became the main force of opposition to a Fiscal Control Board instituted by the US Congress to push austerity measures in Puerto Rico. She currently works as a coordinator in the Mutual Aid Center “Olla Común” and supports the project of “Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico.”


jennifer-maytorena-taylor-headshot.jpgJennifer Maytorena Taylor, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Social Documentation MFA

Jennifer Maytorena Taylor has over two decades of experience as an award-winning filmmaker of feature
and short documentary films, exploring diverse topics such as families coping with mass incarceration and
racial profiling, gentrification battles, Latin American Dirty Wars, Puerto Rican American Muslim hip-hop
culture, and most recently rural and small-town life in an era of refugee crises, the opioid epidemic, and
the toxic politics of today.

brubyrich-headshot.jpgB. Ruby Rich, Professor, Social Documentation Program and Film + Digital Media Department

B. Ruby Rich is an American scholar, critic of independent, Latin American, documentary, feminist, and queer films, and a professor at UC Santa Cruz. Among her many contributions, she is known for coining the term New Queer Cinema.

This screening is sponsored by the Research Center for the Americas with generous co-sponsorship from The Humanities Institute, Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation, Oakes CollegeCollege Nine, College Ten, Kresge College, Environmental Studies Pepper-Giberson Endowed Chair, Sociology Department, Politics Department, Latin American and Latino Studies Department, and Film and Digital Media Department, Social Documentation Program.


To donate to the documentary film project: islasprometidas.com/donate-now
To donate to the Popular Kitchens project: https://www.cdpecpr.org
To donate to Agitarte and support social movements in the streets: https://agitarte.org/donate/