LA SOGA is Manny Perez’s chance to portray real Dominicans

  In the movie La Soga, Manny Perez plays Luisito, a cold-blooded hit man for the Dominican secret police. However, his childhood sweetheart (Denise Quinones) reenters Luisito’s world and falls in love without her knowing what he does for a living. Meanwhile, Luisito finds out something about his past that thrusts him to the path of vengeance against the man (Juan Fernandez) he makes works for.

  La Soga is not the first film in which Manny Perez in which he wrote, produced and starred in. In 2002, Perez was also the writer, producer and actor on a movie called Washington Heights, an independent movie set in his neighborhood. The Beacon has the chance to sit down with Perez while he was in town for the South Florida premiere of La Soga at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami.

  The idea for the movie came to Perez ten years ago when he remember an incident that happened in the Dominican Republic when one of his friends who got deported was killed by a cop.

  “At that time, the government gave cops licenses to kill these dudes who taking over the country like deportees who thought they were above the law,” Perez says.

  Perez said that when he finish making Washington Heights, he promised himself he will never write, produce or star in the same movie again. However, he also said that he did miss doing that because it felt like an adrenaline rush for him.

  “I feel like as an actor, I want to change my way and I want to change what I do,” Perez says. “I don’t want to just act in Hollywood; I want to act for me so I can write my own stories where I am the lead.”

  La Soga premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival where it was the first film from the Dominican Republic to be screened at the prestigious festival. Perez said it was one of the best moments of his life when he found out on his birthday that his film was set to premiere at the festival.

  “They schedule two screenings and they both sold out immediately,” Perez says. “The reviews from Variety and the Los Angeles Times were amazing because they loved what they saw.”

  For Perez, getting the money to make the movie and finding a distributor for the movie is the most difficult part of filmmaking.

  “There are so many people who have great films that they can’t get distribution because these people don’t know how to distribute the film,” Perez says.

  Perez went to major studio like Sony Classics and Paramount Pictures for distribution, but he said the studios did not know how to promote the movie. Eventually, La Soga was picked up by a New York film company called 7-57 Releasing for distribution.

  Sugar is a Sony Classics film about a Dominican baseball player who is recruited to play in the United Sates for a minor league team. Even though he has watched the movie and enjoyed it, Perez believes that Sugar was not a true Dominican film because he does not think other Dominicans recognize themselves in the movie.

  “I think Sugar was more like a Hollywood mainstream film about what a Dominican should be like,” Perez says. “Dominicans have a lot of pride on how they are perceived.”

  Perez said that one flaw he that found in the film was that the Spanish language spoken in Sugar is not how real Dominicans speak in real life.

  Perez’s next film, Forge, has already has found success when the movie won the Best Picture award last month at the New York Latino International Film Festival. In the film, Perez plays a father who tries to reconnect his son after serving ten years in prison for the murder of his son’s mother.

  “We are looking for a distributor for the film,” Perez says. “We have someone who is interested, but we are still waiting for the final confirmation.”

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