Hispaniola

By Freddy Vargas


Hispaniola is the endearing story of two boys from different worlds, one Haitian, the other Dominican, who form a bond through baseball. It is through their eyes that we witness first hand the conflicts and misunderstandings between two people who share the same island, the island of Hispaniola.

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Freddy Vargas is an award winning filmmaker born in the Dominican Republic and educated in the United States.  He attended St. John's University in New York where he received his bachelor's degree in Communication Arts.  While at St. John's, Vargas wrote, produced and directed the award-winning short films Uptown, which won Best Student Film in 1994 and Victor in 1995, which won a number of awards at the University's 9th Annual Film and Video Competition, including Best Film, Best Writing, and Best Editing.  Victor went on to win the Gold Plaque Award at the 31st Chicago International Film Festival, and was invited to be shown at the prestigious noncompetitive Telluride Film Festival in Colorado under the Filmmakers of Tomorrow section sponsored by Steven Spielberg.  Vargas’ third short film, Alex was an autobiographical short in which he played the lead role. 

Apart from his own films, Vargas has worked on the production of I Like It Like That, a Columbia Pictures release featuring Lauren Velez from New York Undercover fame and Latin music star Jerry Rivera.  Shortly after, he worked as production manager on Destination Unknown; an award-winning independent film (Golden Star Fish Award – 1997 Hamptons International Film Festival) directed by Nestor Miranda and shot entirely on location in Queens, NY.  Vargas wrote and produced In Search of a Dream (Buscando un Sueño), his first feature screenplay.  In July 2002, Vargas received an award of creative excellence from ABC Entertainment Television Group Talent Development Program.  Also in 2002, he collaborated on the feature film Red Passport providing the story for the screenplay.  This film won the audience award at La Cinemafe film festival in New York in 2002, and was showcased at the 2003 Latin Beat festival at the Lincoln Center.  He is a regular collaborator for the Dominican paper Listin Diario, writing about film. In 2007 Vargas finished his short film The Woman from Columbus Circle, based on a short story by Dominican writer Franklyn Gutierrez.  This short film was invited to the 2007 New York International Latino Film Festival.  Coincidentally at the same festival Vargas was the winner of the 2007 HBO / NYILFF Short Film Competition for his screenplay Hispaniola.  HBO awarded him 15,000 to produce and direct the short in the Dominican Republic based on his screenplay.  The resulting short film, Hispaniola was showcased at the 2007 New York International Latino Film Festival and shown later that year on HBO on demand as part of Hispanic Heritage month, after which the film ran on other HBO channels. 

In April, 2008, Vargas finished helming his eighth short film and his first on 35mm, the comedy musical Pinchos & Rolos, which he is developing as a feature film.  This short had a successful premiere at the 2008 Latino International Film Festival and has been invited as the closing night short for the premiere festival in the Dominican Republic, the 2008 Muestra Internacional de Cine de Santo Domingo.  In 2009, the short film was invited to screen at the Havana Film Festival New York along with Hispaniola.

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