Meeting Roberto was quite am amazing experience, I was out shooting with a Model while he was sitting By the side observing, with good energy we began discussing and I got to find out he is the mayor of meatpacking district and also a renowned Award winning Director born in Cuba and has been living in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, NYC for 25 years.
Roberto Monticello was born in Cuba. He began his career writing and directing for the stage, receiving numerous awards and grants, before becoming a film director and settling in New York City. He is one of few Cuban-born directors living in the U.S. with permission to shoot in Cuba.
In addition to writing and directing films, Monticello has devoted much of his life to human rights and environmental causes. He has journeyed three times to Ethiopia during the famine, once as a camp director, for which he received the UNICEF Relief Dag Hammarshjold Medal 'In the Name of the World's Children'.
He was arrested, beaten and threatened several times while traveling through South America in pursuit of Nazi war criminals. He has traveled throughout Central America as a troubleshooter for human rights organizations, lived with Peruvian Indians in the Andes and recorded human rights abuses in Afghanistan during the Russian presence.
He has concentrated great effort on ending the U.S. Embargo and Travel Ban to Cuba, bringing a boatload of medicine twice a year and making films in Cuba to promote a peaceful resolution. He is producing two Cuba-themed documentaries - one, "Looking For Cuba," which deals directly with the U.S. Embargo - and with writing partner _Doug Klozzner_ has written two Cuban-themed feature scripts: "Son Cubano", an action-filled tale about the seeds of freedom in Cuba, and "Free Again: La Lupe's Story", the true life drama of legendary singer La Lupe.
Recently back from Darfur, after being wounded on a mission for the Red Cross, Roberto was given the 2007 Film Humanitarian Award at the Fifth Queens International Film Festival.
2008 Humanitarian Film Projects:
"Children of the Night"
A documentary expose of the trafficking of children from Cambodia, Malaysia and the Phillipines to the U.S. for sexual purposes. To date, 34 children have been rescued by the film crew and several "homes" have been closed due to the attention this film has created. This project is in mid-production.
"The World's Crying"
A montage of footage shot by Roberto in Darfur and Rwanda during the genocides; Sri Lanka during the tsunami; Sarajevo during the ethnic cleansing; and New Orleans during the event of Hurricane Katrina.
"Carnaval de Cuba"
A look at Carnaval and religion in Cuba today. Principal photography complete; currently in post-production.
"Looking for Cuba"
A piece on the Anti-U.S. Embargo and Travel Ban. This film was recently shown at the United Nations and is currently on the festival circuit.
A view into the current state of American Indians. Marlon Brando was the original executive producer. Principal photography is nearly complete; currently shooting on Indian reservations in Long Island, NY.
"Cannibals & Missionaries"
Written and directed by Roberto for Tri-Continental Films. This project is complete, seeking distribution. A planned sequel entitled "Cultural Survival" has been shot in 6 countries in Latin America.
Monticello is also a published poet, novelist and journalist. Resides in New York City.
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- Leonard Okpor || 2022