Perez helms doc about Puerto Rican history

June 12, 2006 at 8:46 AM
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NEW YORK, June 12 (UPI) -- Rosie Perez says she made her new documentary, "Yo Soy Boricua, Pa'que Tu Lo Sepas," to educate people about Puerto Rico's seldom-discussed history.

Co-directed by Perez and Liz Garbus with Jimmy Smits narrating, the film chronicles the political history of Puerto Rico and attempts to explain how the island's connections to Spain and the United States have affected the lives, culture and language of its people.

The film, which airs on IFC Monday night, also documents Perez's family life and history.

Perez said her film is a direct response to the ignorance of Puerto Rican heritage she has dealt with since she was a little girl.

"'What are you? Where's Puerto Rico? What is it?' That was constant," she recalled people asking her as a child.

"I wasn't amazed that people didn't know," she continued. "What I was amazed at was why people didn't know; even Puerto Rican-Americans. ... And that's because it's not taught in elementary, junior high, high school. So, how can anybody know? Unless you take Puerto Rican Studies in college, you're not going to know -- not even in Puerto Rico."

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