On Monday, April 1, a diverse group of almost eighty people packed the basement of the Connolly Branch Library for a special screening of the documentary “Hay un País en el Mundo” (There’s a Country in the World), with more trickling in as the night progressed.
Directed by José Enrique “Pinky” Pintor and financed by Dominican bank BHD León, the film celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Dominican Republic. It is named after a poem by the same name by the late Dominican poet Pedro Julio Mir Valentín, better known as Pedro Mir.
Mir’s poem opens “There is a country in the world situated in the sun’s path, native of the night, located in an unlikely archipelago of sugar and alcohol…” This imagery introduces the 90-minute film that takes viewers on a visual and musical odyssey of the Caribbean nation of almost 11 million on the island of Hispaniola.
This Spanish-language film with English subtitles is currently being shown as part of a nationwide tour organized by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting “a better understanding and appreciation of the Dominican culture, values and heritage” both home and abroad. It features a number of Dominican figureheads, artists and musicians.
The Jamaica Plain screening was presented jointly by GFDD, the Connolly Branch Library and City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who was present. Also in attendance was Yvette Gonzalez, the coordinator of Boston’s annual Dominican Festival, and Enerio “Tony” Varros, Special Assistant to Mayor Marty Walsh.
During the event, guests were invited to enjoy a colorful spread of traditional Dominican foods, including pastelitos, cornbread and assorted sweets familiar to anyone who grew up in the DR.
A special guest was Dominican artist and folklorist Isaías Amaro, who exhibited his artwork while talking about his plans for a new Domnican cultural initiative that would help children and young people to explore the traditional handicrafts of the small but proud Spanish-speaking country.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Massachusetts has the fourth highest number of Dominicans living in the U.S., with the majority of them living in Greater Boston. Dominicans are the largest immigrant group in the city, according to the Boston College Department of History.
“Hay un País” finished up its Massachusetts screenings on Saturday, April 5, at the Salem Academy Charter Schools in Salem, Mass. View the trailer on YouTube at youtu.be/AVMlNLmk-wI.
To learn about other initiatives by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, go to globalfoundationdd.org. for more information on how you can get involved in local initiatives supporting Dominican culture, contact Katy Bernt Polanco at [email protected]