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Presenting Premier Official Benefactors NYILFF Family Day


The New York International Latino Film Festival
Gary Santana, Marinieves Alba & Hola @ Time Inc.


NYILFF Vanguard brings together established and emerging playwrights, actors, poets, artists, and community activists to create a platform for new, cutting-edge works and connect artists working in different media - while highlighting film and video- to serve broader community interests through the arts and social activism.

This year, the NYILFF Vanguard program is taking the initiative of bringing forth an issue that has been looming within the hip-hop culture for quite sometime: the new brand of hip-hop commercialism, the hip-hop of Bling. To shed light on this present state of Hip-Hop, we are featuring a special documentary, BLING: A Planet Rock, by Raquel Cepeda. Following the screening, we will present a photography exhibition showcasing the classic hip-hop photography of our beloved Joe Conzo. And to finish off the evening, we are hosting a panel discussion with hip-hop filmmakers, Loira Limbal and Raquel Cepeda, who have made it their mission to bring consciousness to hip-hop via their films. The panel will be moderated by one of our co-producers, Marinieves Alba.



87mins / color / 2007 - The Director's Cut
5:30pm – 7:00pm


BLING is a 90-minute documentary that takes a hard-hitting look at how the flashy world of commercial hip-hop played a significant role in the 10-year civil war in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The term “bling” refers to the shine emanating from polished diamonds that represent the status symbol for hip-hop luminaries and fans alike. BLING follows three hip-hop celebrities: Raekwon (Wu Tang Klan), Paul Wall and Reggaetón king, Tego Calderon. They visit the capital of Freetown where they survey the devastated country, meet the hip-hop community, as well as encounter refugees and former child soldiers first hand. The stars are visibly affected by the accounts of the atrocities suffered at the hands of the rebels that included rape, torture and amputation. The film effectively captures the hip-hop community's reaction to the human rights violations and the complexities that still exist, while presenting a much needed global perspective for our youth through the dominant voice of hip-hop. A shorter broadcast—version edited for content and time—of “Bling” aired on VH1 in February 2007 under the title "Bling'd: Blood, Diamonds and Hip-Hop".



This part of the NYILFF Vanguard program is dedicated to recognizing famed photographer, Joe Conzo, for the special efforts and contributions he has provided our community, all the while confronting serious, personal challenges. We are fortunate to have such a gifted talent who triumphed over near tragedy through personal expression and art.


7:20pm - 8:30pm

This panel discussion will reveal the journey of how two prominent documentary filmmakers, Raquel Cepeda and Loira Limbal, are looking to shed a positive light and consciousness on our hip-hop culture. Marinieves Alba moderates.

1271 Avenue of the Americas
8th Floor Auditorium
New York, NY 10020

For security purposes, in order to attend the NYILFF Vanguard one-day series of events, you must RSVP by e-mail to NYILFFVanguard@yahoo.com. Please take note: if you do not comply with this request, you will not be able to attend. The deadline to RSVP is July 26, 2007, 12:00pm noon. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Back in the 70s, Joe Conzo’s pictures were part of Hip-Hop. 30 years later, his pictures are part of Hip-Hop history. Joe intimately captured the birth of Hip-Hop music and a culture that would forever change the world. Having attended school with some of the pillars of Hip-Hop, such as The Cold Crush Brothers, Joe was never too far from a classic shot.

In addition to the Cold Crush, Joe documented other legendary Hip-Hop groups like the Treacherous 3, Fearless 4 and Fantastic 5. Many luminaries, like Kool Moe Dee of the Treacherous 3 and Rahiem of the Furious 5 consider Joe to be “One of the first Hip-Hop photographers.” But Joe’s photographic contributions to urban culture weren’t limited to just Hip-Hop. In addition, Joe’s dad, Joe Conzo Sr., ‘confidant and historian’ of late "King of Latin Music" Tito Puente, allowed his son exclusive access to some of the most influential names in the world of Latin Music. Joe beautifully captured salsa greats like Hector Lavoe, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco and Ray Baretto, as they shaped the face of Latin Music.

Joe’s work has appeared on VH1, in the film CB4, featured in highly acclaimed publications such as the New York Times, VIBE, Complex, Hip-Hop Connection (Europe), Urban Hitz (Australia), Esquire and Wax Poetics. His work also appears in the books, Hip Hop Immortals, Yes, Yes, Y’all, Wild Style The Sampler and was displayed at the prestigious “Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture” in New York. Joe’s highly anticipated first book Born In The Bronx, a collaborative effort with noted New York musicologist and curator Johan Kugelberg releases Fall 2007.