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The 2016 Dominican Film Festival Will Explore Today's Scorching Social Themes

" …we are more than just plátanos and merengue."

Now in its fifth year, the Dominican Film Festival in New York (DFFNY) celebrates the best in filmmaking and artistry from the Dominican Republic.  More than a dozen films will be screened at this year’s event, kicking off on June 22 with the U.S. premiere of  La Familia Reyna (The Reyna Family), a comedy-drama centered on the complex relationship between love and acceptance.

The festival not only promotes a national initiative, but aids in sustaining an identity for the Dominican diaspora by educating New York audiences of the rich relationship between Dominican cinema and the country's history, politics, and social life of the country through art.

With the slogan "Our culture, Our People, Our Music, Our Cinema," DFFNY highlights the most outstanding actors, directors, writers, and producers in the Dominican film industry.  Said industry is currently experiencing exponential growth as the Dominican government is heavily investing in filmmaking initiatives. The Dominican Republic has become an attractive destination for both national and international filmmakers to produce new projects. This growth has also led to an increased participation by women in film, not only as actors, but as producers and directors.

Official Poster of the 5th annual #DominicanFilmFestival Running June 22-26 #DFFNYC 🗽🎥🇩🇴

A photo posted by Dominican Film Festival (@dffnyc) on

Celines Toribio, star and producer of Maria Montez, the legendary screen queen who was the first Dominican actress to conquer Hollywood in the 1940s, is one of those actors at the forefront of filmmaking, propelling the image of strong Dominican women in a country still grappling with traditional views on the role of women.

Each passing year, DFFNY strives to expose audiences to an array of diverse and socially provocative programming that reflect the intricacies of the Dominican experience.  The films selected cover social themes often obscured in daily talk, such as homosexuality, institutional corruption, sexism, and cultural tensions from a Haitian migrant’s perspective.  The festival serves an important outlet for filmmakers to tell their stories.

Creatives behind the Dominican Film Festival in New York have found it imperative to keep venues as accessible as possible to the Latino community, screening all of the films in the heart of Washington Heights.  Films will be presented with subtitles, in a concerted effort to promote culture and art outside of the Dominican community.

#nanaeldocumental de @tatiluka se presentara 6/24 + 6/25 en el #DominicanFilmFestival en #nuevayork #dffnyc

A photo posted by Dominican Film Festival (@dffnyc) on

“The films are not just for Dominicans. We want to expand views on Dominican way of life, as we are more than just plátanos and merengue. It’s about breaking barriers, that’s what cinema is all about," said James Duarte, DFFNY Creative Director.

The Dominican Film Festival in New York begins Wednesday, June 22-June 26, closing with the U.S. premiere of Todos Los Hombres Son Iguales (All Men Are the Same), starring Nashla Bogaert, Christian Meier, and Frank Perozo. —Shakira Taveras

For more information on films, tickets, screening venues, please visit here.

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In this handout photo provided by One Voice: Somos Live!, Romeo Santos performs onstage at One Voice: Somos Live! A Concert For Disaster Relief at Marlins Park on October 14, 2017 in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Rick Diamond/One Voice: Somos Live!/Getty Images

Romeo Santos Makes History As The First Latino Performer To Headline MetLife Concert

Romeo Santos is making history and his fans have the most to gain from it.

On September 21, Santos will perform at MetLife Stadium making him the first Latin artist to do so. The venue holds up to 80,00 seats, which is more than enough for Santos' fans who will go see the singer perform his recent number one album, Utopia.

The one-day event will be called, UTOPIA the Concert, and Santos, the King of Bachata has already taken to his social media to express his appreciation on being chosen to make history at the stadium.

"I've never performed in such a prestigious venue, not even when I was a part of Aventura or in my solo career," the 37-year-old said in a video posted to his Instagram account about his upcoming concert. The "Odio" singer shouldn't face too much of a challenge in filling up the MetLife stadium seats.

In 2014 he sold out two Yankee Stadium shows, the stadium holds over 50,000 people; during his Golden Tour he sold out New York's Madison Square Garden three times. His draw power is undeniably huge, so tickets may be hard to come by once they go on sale.


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21 De Septiembre #UT🌍PIATheConcert #MetLife. ¡Pendiente a mis redes para la fecha de la preventa!

A post shared by Romeo Santos (@romeosantos) on May 20, 2019 at 11:41am PDT

Fans can expect Santos to perform hits from his Utopia album, which includes records with fellow Dominican singers Frank Reyes, Anthony Santos, Monchy & Alexandria, and his former group Aventura.

Ticket information is not yet available but is to be expected soon.

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Gang Member May Testify Against Defendants In 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz' Murder Trial

A member of the Trinitarios gang who witnessed the fatal stabbing of Bronx teenager Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz may take the stand against five defendants this week.

The first of two murder trials for the killing of Junior Guzman-Feliz began earlier this month, NBC4 New York reports. Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago (24), Jonaiki Martinez Estrella (24), Jose Muniz (21) and Manuel Rivera (18) and Elvin Garcia (23) were given second-degree murder, manslaughter, conspiracy, gang assault and criminal possession of weapon charges for the June 2018 stabbing of the 15-year-old.

It was previously reported that the leader of the Trinitarios gang assisted the police with information about the defendant but it isn't known if he is the same witness who will testify this week.

A total of eleven women and one man make up the jury. During the first few days of the trial, the courtroom watched three clips from the harrowing incident that showed Guzman-Feliz before and after the attack. The teen was reportedly stabbed by the defendants in a case of mistaken identity.

One of the clips was never seen by the public and showed the attackers dragging Junior out of the grocery story with the teen fighting back as the gang yielded machete and knives. Later in the trial, jurors were shown 13 different angles and the six locations of the group looking for the teen.

As family members sobbed in the court, prosecutors claimed that Junior's murder was premeditated given the weapons used. But defense attorneys deemed most of Junior's wounds as "superficial" and noted how the cut to his throat was the cause of his death. They also claimed four of the defendants did not intend to kill Junior. The defense rilled up the court, including Junior's family.

"Why would they need those weapons if they're not trying to kill someone?" sister-in-law Ione Guierrez told ABC7. "I need somebody to explain that to me." Junior's father was later escorted out of the courtroom for using profanity as the defendants reportedly laughed during the trial. "These guys are sitting there, just looking at us, just literally laughing," supporter Ilene Mariez told reporters. "The family got really really upset, and the father, towards the end, he was so upset he was using profanity," Mariez added. "So they pulled him from the courtroom."

Defense attorneys cross-examined witnesses like a woman who saw what happened from her apartment window. The witness said Junior motioned for her to call the police. After heading outside to help the teen, she said in disturbing detail his last word was "water."

A total of 14 people are facing jail time for Junior's death. The other nine suspects who are accused of taking part in other aspects of the assault will have a pretrial hearing dated for June 17.

Junior's passing sent waves around the country as clips were seen on social media. A number of celebrities took part in the #JusticeforJunior movement like Carmelo Anthony, Cardi B, Lala Anthony, Rihanna and Wesley Snipes. The street where Junior died was changed from Bathgate Avenue to Lesandro Junior Guzman Way. He was also honored by the NYPD with a scholarship created in his name. The teen was a member of the NYPD's Explores Program and had an interest in becoming a police officer.

"He was one of the good kids in the Bronx," his mother said at the time of his death. "He has never been in any fight, never, in 15 years. He was innocent. He never grew up on the streets. He was with me all the time."

If found guilty, the five defendants will face life in prison.

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Cardi B attends The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Cardi B's Fans Are Creeping Her Out With Comments About Her Family

Cardi B loves her fans, but she's making one thing clear to them: her family is off limits. During one of her popular Instagram live sessions, Cardi revealed that she frequently talks to her fan pages but that recently they've been crossing a few lines and talking "hella crazy" about her family, especially her sister Hennessy Carolina.

Before getting into it, the "Please Me" artist made it clear that she's incredibly thankful for her fans and that she goes out of her way to respond to their comments and like their pictures, they just have to leave her family alone.

"I am so thankful that I have people who love me, that follow up with my life, always supporting me, always supporting my music, my looks and everything," she said during the live.

"But it's like bro, no, you cannot talk about my sister. I would go to jail for my sister, I would die for my sister, I would take a bullet for my sister. So nobody could talk about my sister. I could be best friends with somebody for 100 years. Once they say something slick about my sister, you’re getting cut the f*** off, period.”

Cardi warned the Bardi Gang that hands would be thrown, regardless of whether they're a fan of hers or not, over her sister.

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