“My hope in creating this film was that the legacy of the Young Lords would be honored and celebrated, and also that the current generation of young Puerto Ricans (as well as other latinos) would be inspired by the film,” says Jennica Carmona, Director and Writer, who has spent years of extensive researching, script writing and crowd funding campaigns to create the film.
- Alfredo Huereca (“La Cosita Linda”) as Antonio Millie’s Dad;
- Mateo Gomez (“Anna in the Tropics”) as Mateo, a former Young Lord;
- Alex Hernandez (“Law and Order SVU”) as Roberto, Millie’s love interest; Cedric
- Leiba, Jr. (“RENT”) as Andy, one of Millie’s friends;
- Felipe Luciano, as himself, founding member of the Young Lords Party
- Jessica Carmona (“Get Richor Die Tryin”) as Millie.
Full screening also at the 2015 Hispanicize in Miami.
This film infuses the legendary history of Puerto Rican activist group the Young Lords and the story of Milagros Baez (Millie), a Latina woman growing up in present day Spanish Harlem. While she spends her days and nights working a minimum wage retail job, she secretly fantasizes about going to college and becoming a writer. With no one to believe in her and no one on her side, she feels lost and has no hopes for the future. Until Millie meets Mateo, a former Young Lord, who helps transform her life.
As he slowly shares with Millie all of his knowledge and experiences with the Puerto Rican revolutionary group, she discovers an inner strength and passion that she never knew was there. Mateo’s encouragement and belief in Millie gives her a newly found sense of possibility, and little by little, her life begins to change. Inspired by the model of the Young Lords Party, Millie is able to overcome her fears and become the woman that she was meant to be.
The majority of the film was shot in East Harlem. The Young Lords story is told with old images, video footage and interviews with several formal Young Lords member. It definitely connects to the Puerto Rican history of then and now. It is a story that needs to be told, especially since the fight for human rights is just as crucial now as it was back then.
The process of creating “Millie and the Lords” was a very long one. It took years of extensive research and fundraising to put this film together. The script went through many different versions before we finally decided it was ready. After countless rewrites , I finally decided I had the story that I wanted to tell I always knew that I wanted to tell the story of the Young Lords through the eyes of a current day young woman. While beautiful documentaries like “Palante Siempre Palante” and “El Pueblo Se Levanta” had already been made, I felt that what was really needed was a film that brought the story of the Young Lords to the public eye in a new way. I knew from the beginning that this would not be a film that was set back in the 70’s. Instead, it would be a story in which the legacy of the Young Lords Party would have a profound effect on a young woman and her friends today. A woman who would take what she learned about the Young Lords and use that knowledge to effect change in her current world.
Even now, years after the Young Lords were in the height of their activism, young people still face some of the same issues that the Young Lords faced. Racism, gang violence, limited economic resources, police brutality, drug addiction, the list goes on, and for many young Latinos, these are all issues that remain a very real part of their lives. In creating the fictional character of Millie and her newly found “Crew”, I wanted to tell a story about this community and how they were able to overcome these obstacles by taking inspiration from the Young Lords and following their example. While they couldn’t exactly replicate the same specific actions that the Young Lords took, what they did take from the Young Lords was a spirit of consciousness, activism, hope, and community building. – Jennica Carmona
The Film has been supported by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College.
Si Se Puede Productions, LLC is a newly formed production company with a purpose of producing quality works in film and theater. For more information please contact Shirley Yanis at email@example.com.
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