MELISSA MONTERO | ISABEL ROSADO: NATIONALIST
Melissa is working on a 60-minute documentary on Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence as told through the eyes of lifetime nationalist Isabel Rosado. At 102 years old, Isabel Rosado has become a revered symbol of colonial resistance in Puerto Rico. Her life is a testament to the island’s unresolved struggle with political status, economic development, and citizenship in the United States. With nearly four hundred years under Spanish domination before the U.S. invaded in 1898 as a result of the Spanish American War, Puerto Rico stands as one of the oldest colonies in the world. As a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, Isabel collected funds, sewed flags, staffed party offices, delivered messages, cared for the stricken leader Don Pedro Albizu Campos, and even took up arms in his defense. Along with other Nationalist women, she challenged the status quo on not only what it means to be a woman in today’s society but also what it means to be a revolutionary. This hour-long documentary chronicles the life of a humble woman whose story highlights the central problem of colonialism–the right of a people to choose their form of government. As the U.S. seeks to redefine its role in the world with a new President and its relationship with Cuba and Latin America in particular, the U.S.’s approach to Puerto Rico’s colonial status leaves many U.S. citizens, progressives and human rights advocates unsettled. Historians, scholars, journalists and major figures within the movement will discuss the simmering debate and why Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence continues today. Producer and Director Melissa Montero is a dancer, political activist, and emerging filmmaker from Queens, New York. She was a member of the Abakua Afro-Latin Dance Company for 7 years under the direction of mentor and dance instructor, world-known Salsa/Afro-Latin Funk dance instructor, Frankie Martinez. Melissa has performed throughout New York City and internationally, in countries such as Mexico, Spain, Portugal, and Germany. She is no longer in the dance company but continues to practice the art form. For the past 10 years, Melissa has also been a political activist concentrating most of her organizing work on Puerto Rican political prisoners. She is currently a member of the National Boricua Human Rights network, a national organization dedicated to the campaign for the release of the Puerto Rican political prisoners. In 2004, she began researching and developing her current documentary, Isabel Rosado: Nationalist (working-title). Melissa is a member of NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) and was a fellow in their 2007 Producers’ Academy. She is the recipient of Center for Puerto Rican Studies Diaspora Grant, The Eastman Fund, and The Roy W. Dean and Latino Public Broadcasting grants. In 2009, she participated in NALIP’s Media Market. Last year, Melissa was accepted into Firelight Media Producers’ lab where she is being mentored on her current documentary. Melissa is working at the Center for Puerto Rican studies as an Associate Producer on various educational video/documentary projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in TV/Video from Hofstra University’s School of Communications. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.