Film buffs may recall, the mid-90’s as a golden era for independent film in the United States. Films like Pulp Fiction, Do the Right Thing, El Mariachi and Menace II Society ushered in a new era of filmmaking and filmmakers. In the 2K era, the Dominican Republic is now experiencing its own rise in independent film. The latest example Que León.
According to Variety, the Dominican Republic has released an average of 20 locally filmed productions per year since 2014. How you ask? A result of a change in tax laws which include various credits and deductions. These tax benefits have created a swirl of interest from private investment looking to take advantage of the financial advantages and filmmakers to receive said funds to make their films.
The end product – the Dominican Republic has been ground zero for local and foreign filmmakers alike. Documentaries and dramas filmed and produced in the country have fared well and are receiving entry into a number of A-List film festivals. Jose Maria Cabral’s Carpinteros was the first Dominican film to appear at Sundance and Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas’ Samba, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Yet, the DR has been flexing its funny bone as well. A high volume of comedies in recent years, many of which have outperformed Hollywood pictures during their runs in the DR. Chief among them Que León.
Que León is an indie comedy, written and directed by Frank Perozo. It’s tells the love story of Nicole and José Miguel. The couple have the same last name, León, but they are certainly from different families and social classes – a theme all too familiar in Caribbean culture. This socio-economic clash results in the parents of Nicole and Jose at odds with the relationship.
Que León is not your average indie film. It’s got a heavyweight cast. Starring reggaetón artist Ozuna as José Miguel and Dominican TV personality and actress Clarissa Molina, as the leads. With supporting roles also played by Dominican A-List talent in the form of veteran actress and model Celines Toribio, as well as comedians Raymond Pozo and Miguel Cespedes. Aside from the acting chops all the talent bring their followings to the film.
The film opened in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in 2018 to massive success. Enough to bring it state side. Que León opened January 25th in New York and the tri-state area.
The future looks bright for Que León, as a sequel is already in the works. Yet, it also equally as promising for the industry in the Dominican Republic and Hollywood. With the recent success of films like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians the appetite for stories of different cultures is clearly present. An appetite which Spanglish is betting on.
Spanglish is an international distributor founded by Latinos, with global reach and firm intention to be an essential part of the growth of Spanish-speaking cinema. With a catalog of over 100 films, clients on all 5 continents and international award-winning productions, blockbusters and screen presence around the globe the company is poised to be a key player in the market with Que León poised to be their next hit.