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Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is at it again! He’s explored the underground music scene of Cuba with Bakoso: Afrobeats of Cuba and now turns his lens on post Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico with his latest We Still Here / Nos Tenemos.

This documentary is an uplifting story of youth from Comerío, Puerto Rico who found themselves leading historic recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

We Still Here / Nos Tenemos follows Mariangelie Ortiz, 24, and Jerriel “Yeyo” Cátala, 19, on a journey that transforms their lives as they rebuild their community. Although these young people never imagined themselves as community leaders, one historic storm changes that. From the remote mountains of central Puerto Rico to protesting in the halls of Congress in Washington DC. These courageous activists discover their power, demand justice for their island. Most importantly, create a sustainable future for themselves and their community.

“This film provides a blueprint and a source of inspiration for communities across the world facing the devastating impacts of climate change. It showcases a new model for disaster recovery, one that centers community, youth-leadership, and justice,” Fantauzzi says.

The documentary also accomplishes something else. Successfully deviating from the white-savior cinematic trope. For those not familiar. It’s the narrative in which a white character rescues non-white characters from unfortunate circumstances. This trope appears in an array of genres of films in cinema. Wherein the protagonist is portrayed as a messianic figure who often learns something about themself in the course of rescuing non-white characters from their plight. It’s appeared in a wide array of films from The Blind Side to Gran Torino, Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, Django Unchained and on and on.

In We Still Here, Jacobs-Fantauzzi deviates from the stereotypical portrayals. In the process delivers us an intimate and inspiring story of community power and resilience. One where the heroes and saviors are the disenfranchised. They are the change they want to see. Serving as true catalysts by organizing their community, advocating for their neighbors, and taking control of rebuilding efforts.

We Still Here / Nos Tenemos opened Puerto Rican Film Festival on November 10th, but the film will also be screening at various other locations and festivals in the coming months.

For updated listings visit https://www.westillherepr.com/  

See the trailer here.

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