Directed by Tito Rodriguez, ‘Rafaela’ is a movie from the Dominican Republic showing a young Caribbean slum girl who becomes a gang leader in order to exact revenge on the thug who took all her wealth and left her pregnant. All she seeks is her identity in the midst of a terrible world she has to live in.
The press conference was addressed by actors Judith Rodriguez, Hony Estrella, and Edward Diaz. The conference begins with ‘Rafaela’ film actress Judith Rodriguez telling how thrilled and excited she was when she saw the movie premiered at the 52nd International Film Festival of India. “Watching the world premiere of our movie with viewers yesterday was an awe-inspiring experience which will remain etched in our hearts forever. It was our first time watching the film with an audience and it was amazing to see that they loved the movie.”
Judith recounted how Rafaela came to be 10 years ago and how a short film eventually blossomed into a full-length motion picture. “The journey of Rafaela started and grew with me,” she added. She also said how ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ helped her understand the importance to have relatable characters.
She was asked about how ‘Rafaela’ affected her personally. She claimed that while filming, she was able to witness first-hand the anguish of those forced to live on the margins of society- people gathering garbage from dumpsters for resale and so feeding their families. She also said, “This scene was an eye opener in my life. It made me a better human being and even changed me as a person.”F
She also voiced concern about children who have had to face such adversity at such a young age and how it affects them as human beings as they grow up. She concluded by saying, “People are not bad. They are the consequence of their circumstances.”
When asked about what message she wanted to convey to people, she said that it is time people realize women also have a point of view and can tell their own story too. Women, according to her, have the ability to share their tales in their own unique way, with their own distinct sensibilities and sensitivities to see and experience truth. She also urged women to come out and speak their stories from their own perspectives.
She also urged female filmmakers and technicians to step up and use cinema’s powerful and effective platform to tell their experiences to the world. She also pointed out how motivating it is to watch women in many professional areas in today’s changing world, such as camera operators, journalists, and so on. “You people inspire us and in turn we inspire you with our films,” she said to all females who were present there.
Actor Hony Estrella voiced her surprise over how developed the Indian film industry is. “We are amazed to see how advanced you are in cinema and your industry. We were so happy to watch our films on the huge screens with advanced technology in IFFI and the experience was incredible.” When talking about the film industry in the Dominican Republic, Edward Diaz believes that Dominican movies are still in their infancy. He also stated how they must rely on government support to stay afloat.
TEXT – PRAKRITI BHOWMICK