Director's Statement: I made this documentary to inform people about the wonderful culture and performance arts of Afro-Peruvians (or Peruvians of African descent). Most people outside of Peru don't even know the community exists, but it has made important contributions to the world of music and dance, in spite of a horrific past which, like that of the African-American community, included centuries of enslavement.
I was also captivated by the talent and charisma of the documentary's star, Lalo Izquierdo: dancer, percussionist, choreographer, and folklorist of his community; and I dedicate this
documentary to him.
Director's Bio: A filmmaker since 2004, Ma is essentially self-taught. Her work has screened and been in festivals in seven countries on three continents. She produces and directs in both English and Spanish, and in certain respects considers herself an international version of Les Blank. Her passions are music, dance, and cross-cultural understanding; and she tries to combine each of these elements in her work, whether documentary, narrative, or experimental. Her earlier careers (history professor, lawyer, and non-profit administrator) also have a significant effect on her filmmaking.
Lalo Izquierdo, star of this documentary, is a dancer, choreographer, percussionist and folklorist of his Afro-Peruvian community. He has taught workshops in many countries of South America and Europe, as well as In the United States, and represented his native Peru in the Olympic Games held In Mexico City.
Izquierdo is currently teaching and helping to manage a cultural organization in San Luis de Cañete in Perú where he is able to keep alive his community’s traditions by passing them on to the youth of the community.
The group “de Rompe y Raja,” backbone of the studio performance section, is composed primarily by Peruvians living in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have performed from coast to coast in the United States and are an important part of the cultural landscape of northern California.
Led by Gabriela Shiroma and Pedro Rosales, for this documentary the group is joined not only by LaloIzquierdo – brought from Peru to perfect their Afro-Peruvian performance – but also by popular criollo singer-songwriter Jorje Luis Jasso and prominent guitarist Vladimir Vukanovich, both of them on tour from Peru.
Richard R. Lee is best known for his long-running on-line interview show, Sidewalks Entertainment, a celebrity and music TV series he started back in 1988. The series is broadcast over various cable stations from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, and many cities in between. Lee acts as producer and co-host - and also is the series' creator.
In addition he has worked as programmer and in technical aspects of several television stations in the greater San Francisco Bay Area including KTVU, KRCB, and KFCB. He is currently senior production member and on-air programmer for KCRT-TV, the cable station for the city of Richmond, California.