by Kyna Morgan
One of the best things about attending a film festival, especially one as large, renowned, and dedicated to showcasing global talent as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), is the surprises. When Cameron Bailey, the Artistic Director of TIFF, introduced Leticia Tonos Paniagua's feature film, Cristo Rey, he said that while TIFF usually has a good handle on what films will be submitted because they track their development and status, the programmers were actually very surprised to receive the submission of Cristo Rey. They had heard nothing about this film, and they knew they had to make it an official selection. Directed and co-written by Leticia Tonos Paniagua, it tackles an incredibly sensitive topic within her native Dominican Republic, and also within Haiti, that of the immigration of Haitian immigrants to the D.R. The subtitle of the film is "Una isla...dos mundos" (One island...two worlds), and that is just what Tonos shows us. Leticia Tonos Paniagua is the first Dominican woman to direct a feature film in the Dominican Republic.
Jacqueline Lee Katz