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Local producer releases film about Puerto Rican history

Federal Way resident shot film in Kent. By Federal Way Mirror

Emilio Miguel Torres, Federal Way resident and recent New York University graduate, produced a historical drama short film entitled “Valor & Sacrifice” this spring in Kent and is releasing the film on YouTube on Friday, Oct. 29.

The film was completed as Torres’ final project as a New York University film student and had to be shot with strict COVID-19 guidelines which limited the cast and crew’s size and mandated 6 feet of distance between all actors.

Despite these challenges, the film has received significant success at film festivals and has won awards. It took first place at the New York University New Visions and Voices festival and was an official selection at the Tacoma Film Festival, Seattle Latino Film Festival and International Social Change Film Festival. The film also received a semifinalist honor at the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival.

A poster of the film “Valor & Sacrifice” to be released Oct. 29 on YouTube and produced by Emilio Torres, a 2018 Kentridge High School graduate. COURTESY IMAGE, Emilio Torres

The film is based on a true story about Puerto Rico in the 1930s and an island-wide labor strike, led by a passionate policital leader named Pedro Albizu Campos, against the U.S. banks that controlled sugar cane plantations in the nation.

“Creating a film like this, one that highlights and uplifts a critical moment in Puerto Rican history, and being able to shoot it in the town where I went to high school, where I made my first short film back in high school, is such an incredible honor and I couldn’t be more grateful for the festival success it has received as well,” Torres said in an email.

“Valor & Sacrifice” stars Washington-based actors David Jofre, Scott Mullet and Coral Tate. The cinematographer of the film (Troy Dobbertin), producer (Maggie Barry), sound designer (Levi Hawkes), and costume supervisor (Brielle Hawkes) are also Washington-based artists. The score for the film was composed by Josué Vera, a Puerto Rican-based musician.

Torres, a 2018 Kentridge High School graduate and multimedia communications specialist for the Kent School District, said he gives an immense amount of credit and appreciation to the Greater Kent Historical Society, which offered its museum in Downtown Kent as a location for the film and matched the time period of the piece.

Their collaboration was incredibly valuable and essential to the success of the project, Torres said. He added that as a Mexican and Puerto Rican filmmaker, he is so thankful community organizations like the Greater Kent Historical Society are prioritizing supporting minority artists.

Torres earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in film and television production from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts last spring. He now creates films through his multimedia production company Torres Productions LLC.


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