Dylcia Pagán and Vagabond Beaumont Discuss “Machetero”

Tonight, Wednesday, November 3, 2010, there will be a talk by former Puerto Rican political prisoner Dylcia Pagán, and a panel discussion with Vagabond Beaumont, director of the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning film, Machetero. The film will be screened at the event. This activity, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 5:00 to 7:30pm at the Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, at the University of Connecticut. The research center is located at 405 Babbidge Road (Unit 1205) in Storrs, Connecticut.

Machetero studies aspects of the Puerto Rican independence movement, with attention to the more radical-minded fighters for freedom. It offers meditation and debate on violence as a means to achieve results in the struggle for dignity. Machetero is artist, writer, producer, and director Vagabond Beaumont’s first feature film. This controversial film has “engendered political discussion and debate within (and outside of) the Puerto Rican Diaspora and has been called one of the most important and insightful underground political films ever made.” In 2008 it was a finalist for Best Film at the Hollywood Black Film Festival and, in the same year, it won the prize for Best First Film at the International Film Festival South Africa. The film has won six awards around the world.

Dylcia Pagán is one of the 11 Puerto Rican former political prisoners granted clemency by President Clinton in September 1999. Pagán was arrested in 1980 for participating in an underground movement for Puerto Rican independence. She was serving a 55-year sentence on charges of seditious conspiracy, among others. She completed an 8-year state sentence. After years of separation, she has been reunited with her son Guillermo, whom she had sent to Mexico to be raised by another family for fear that he would be harmed if he remained in the United States. Pagán, who studied cinematography and sociology at Brooklyn College, helped direct a documentary about the Puerto Rican women prisoners of war, while still in prison.

Her biography has been published in Puerto Rican Women: A History of Oppression and Resistance. Her poetry has appeared in Have You Seen La Nueva Mujer Puertorriqueña? Part of Pagán’s life story was also included in anthropologist John Langston Gwaltney’s The Dissenters: Voices from Contemporary America.

[Many thanks to Lisa Sánchez for bringing this item to our attention.]

For synopsis and trailer, see http://www.machetero-movie.com/MACHETERO/Synopsis_Clips.html

For more on the film, see http://www.machetero-movie.com/MACHETERO/Welcome.html

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