LOS SURES (1984) and the LIVING LOS SURES Project

Date: Monday, November 7, 2016

Time: 7PM

Location: Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

Director: Diego Echeverria

Film Details: 60 min, 1984, USA, color, DCP

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The DocYard presents a new digital restoration of Diego Echeverria’s 1984 documentary LOS SURES, preceded by two short films from the UnionDocs Living Los Sures Project. Total Program Length: 94 minutes + Q&A

Attending in person will be LOS SURES director Diego Echeverria and former UnionDocs Fellows Beyza Boyacioglu and Sebastian Diaz, directors of the short film TOÑITAS, for Q&A with Monika Navarro, filmmaker and producer for WGBH World Channel


In the early 1980s, Diego Echeverria took a 16mm camera into the streets of the Southside of Williamsburg, then a primarily Puerto Rican neighborhood and one of the city’s poorest, most crime-ridden areas. Still, amidst the urban blight, Echeverria finds a thriving street culture in which music, breakdancing, and graffiti abound.

Diego Echeverria’s film skillfully represents the challenges residents of the Southside faced: poverty, drugs, gang violence, crime, abandoned real estate, racial tension, single-parent homes, and inadequate local resources. The complex portrait also celebrates the vitality of this largely Puerto Rican and Dominican community, showing the strength of their culture, their creativity, and their determination to overcome a desperate situation. Beautifully restored for the 30th anniversary premiere at the New York Film Festival, this documentary is an invaluable piece of New York City history.

“Trenchant and eye-opening.”– The Hollywood Reporter

“Both an invaluable record of pre-gentrification Brooklyn and an ode to a community’s resilience.” – BAMcinématek

About the UnionDocs Living Los Sures Project:

LIVING LOS SURES is an expansive project about the Southside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Part omnibus film, part media archeology, part deep-map and city symphony, the project uses LOS SURES, a brilliant work of cinema verite directed by Diego Echeverria in 1984, as a starting point for the investigations of more than sixty artists over the course of five years at UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art. It’s a story of a longstanding Latino community that is defeating displacement and surviving the growth machine. It restores a lost film, remixes local histories, reinvestigates the Southside today, and hopes to reunite a neighborhood around a sustainable future.

With the restoration of LOS SURES, the project has developed into a collection of 40 SHORT FILMS, the interactive documentary 89 STEPS, and the cinematic people’s history SHOT BY SHOT, demonstrating new possibilities for collaboration between an arts institution and its surrounding community to collect memories and share local culture.

“One of the most comprehensive, incredible and in-depth interactive projects that we at the film society have ever seen.” –New York Film Festival

“A massive mixed-media project that defies easy categorization.” – IndieWire



Prior to this feature screening, the DocYard will present two short films produced as part of the UnionDocs Living Los Sures Project.

OF MEMORY & LOS SURES (Andrew Parsons and Laurie Sumiye, 14 min, 2011, DCP)

Of Memory & Los Sures is a hybrid animated documentary film directed and produced by Andrew Parsons & Laurie Sumiye featuring oral histories of longtime residents of Los Sures. Voices of longtime residents are juxtaposed with images suggesting a recently disappearing past. The film weaves their stories, reflecting unique glimpses into collective memory of a place undergoing rapid changes. Through explorations of urban space, the film unearths fragments of history and culture, and recreates those memories through video, photography, archival documents, and animation.

TOÑITAS (Beyza Boyacioglu and Sebastian Diaz, 20.5 minutes, 2013, Digital File)

Toñita’s is a glance at the Puerto Rican community and Nuyorican culture in Brooklyn, through the only remaining Latino social club in South Williamsburg, its owner Maria Toñita and its regulars. The short documentary dives into the microcosm of Caribbean Sports Club, in order to talk about urban space, displacement and identity.

Visiting Filmmaker Bios:

Diego Echeverria (LOS SURES Director) is a filmmaker born in Chile and raised in Puerto Rico. He studied film at Columbia University and was for many years a producer/director of News and Current Affairs documentaries for WNET and WNBC in New York, and for NBC News and CBS News in network television. Later, as an independent producer, he directed documentaries for PBS and for European television and developed projects on health promotion, education and in support of social programs in the national and international arenas. Based in Latin America, he was for several years Regional Advisor on Communications for UNICEF, overseeing programs directed to the wellbeing of children and women. Through his company, Terra Associates, he produced a wide array of multimedia, television programs, and audio visual projects targeted for classroom use, health organizations and corporate sponsors. His work in television was awarded two Emmys.

Beyza Boyacioglu (TOÑITAS Director) is a Brooklyn/Cambridge/Istanbul-based documentary filmmaker, video artist and curator. She was a fellow in 2012-2013 UnionDocs Collaborative Studio in Brooklyn. As a part of her residency, she co-directed Toñita’s, a documentary portrait of the last remaining Puerto Rican social club in South Williamsburg. She curates ‘Fiction-Non’, a documentary series exploring narrative/non-fiction hybrid films, at Maysles Cinema in Harlem. Her work as a video artist has been exhibited in many venues including MoMA (New York), The Invisible Dog Art Center (Brooklyn), NoteOn (Berlin), Goethe Institute (Cambridge, MA) and Sakip Sabanci Museum (Istanbul). Currently, she is a videographer and a video editor at Harvard University. She is also working on the feature-length version of Toñita’s.

Sebastian Diaz (TOÑITAS Director) is a Mexican filmmaker based in New York. He was a fellow at UnionDocs Collaborative Studio, Brooklyn 2013, where he directed ‘Toñita’s’ (MoMA Documentary Fortnight 2014). He co-directed ‘Brilliant Soil’ (Material Culture & Archeology Film Prize at 13th RAI International Fest of Ethnographic Film, Edinburgh 2011) distributed by Distrify. Sebastian photographed and edited the documentary ‘Tijuaneados Anonymous’ (Ambulante Festival 2010; Best local film at San Diego Latino Film Festival). He co-founded ‘Bulbo Art Collective’, which produced a documentary series broadcast in US and Mexico about Tijuana-San Diego border culture (Channels 22 & MVS). His work has been exhibited at ARCO (Madrid), The MAK Museum (Vienna), InSite_05 (Tijuana-San Diego), among others. He is currently working on the feature documentary ‘The Caribbean’.