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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lauren Velez Is Spokeswoman For 2013 International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival

via Daily News: Lauren Velez made her name as a TV star thanks to such cutting-edge series as “Oz,” “Dexter” and “New York Undercover.” Now, the Queens native is currently lending her name to support a fledgling film festival.

Velez was named the official spokesperson of the 2013 International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival taking place in New York in November — which is also the island’s heritage month.
“I’ve always been proud of Puerto Rican heritage month,” Velez says. “For me, the festival is a wonderful way to celebrate the month and also a way to give Puerto Rican artists a chance to shine and come together and display their talent.”

In its second year, the IPRHFF will feature nearly 50 films of varying lengths, with the requirement that they be about Puerto Rico and its people, including those in the diaspora, or have included personnel of Puerto Rican descent in a key production role on either side of the camera.

As the face of the festival, Velez was reunited with its founder, Veronica Caicedo, who two years ago directed a stage version of the actress’ solo show, “They Call Me La Lupe,” based on the life of the controversial Cuban singer. “The opportunity presented itself for me to work with Veronica again,” says Velez, who is currently in pre-production on a film version of the “La Lupe” show. “I told her, ‘I’m so proud of what you're doing and I’m very proud of all the movement that’s going on in the neighborhood.’ ”

Running Nov. 13 to Nov. 17, the festival will take place at a handful of uptown venues, including the Mist Harlem Studios in East Harlem — not far from where Velez recently moved to. “That’s also why this is such an important thing to me, because it’s connecting all of these things together and helping the community,” Velez says. Supporting the Latino community within the entertainment industry is something the actress has always regarded as highly important.

“We not only have to keep making films but we have to go and support them, which is one of the most important components,” she says. “It’s really important for us to start owning it, and not just Puerto Ricans but Latinos in general.”

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