Rubén Durán was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from where he immigrated to New York in 1985. Rubén moved to Houston Texas in 1992. Since 1998 he has worked for Houston Community College (HCC) Central as a Senior Web & Video Developer where his projects include: Co-director and co-editor of three award-winning video documentaries, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues, Texas Zydeco and Colores del Carnaval Dominicano. He has also produced numerous instructional web video projects for HCC and presented at the League for Innovation in the Community College and New Media Consortium national conferences. He holds an AAS degree in Electronic Publishing from Houston Community College.
Donna Pinnick, former publicist for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (1981-1986), started filmmaking in 1994 when she joined HCC Central College Fine Arts Division as publicist. She teamed up with Rubén Durán on three award-winning documentaries, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues, Texas Zydeco and Colores del Carnaval Dominicano. She has produced, directed and edited numerous in-house promotional pieces and archival pieces for the division and presented at the League for Innovation in the Community College and New Media Consortium national conferences. She holds a BS in Education from Northwest Missouri State University (1976).
Mariano Hernández is an award-winning photographer who has had recent exhibits around the world, including Mexico, Chile and Europe. Founder of FOTOGRUPO, for over three decades he has documented carnival throughout the Dominican Republic exploring the extraordinary diversity and richness of each and capturing their essence with his artistic sensibility and anthropologist’s eye. He captures carnival’s non-commercial dimensions: its authenticity, creativity and identity, and its central purpose of expressing the diversity and creativity of the people as artists and as protagonists in their own culture, where carnival is an everyday part of their own life. His work has received major awards and exhibitions have been presented nationally and internationally including, the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Culture, French Embassy; Candido Bidó Museum; Culture Center Perelló; French Guayana; Mexico City; Santiago de Chile and Houston Texas; Louisiana; Zacatecas Mexico and Holland.
Michael Brims moved to Houston from his native Bavaria, Germany in 1999. He studied TV production and photography at the University of Houston and runs his own video production company. In collaboration with Donna Pinnick and Ruben Duran he has worked on Down in Houston, Bayou City Blues and Texas Zydeco. He is also an exhibiting video and photo artist.
Rachel Afi Quinn is an assistant professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Houston. She received her Ph.D. from the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan in 2012. Previously, Rachel worked in documentary film distribution with California Newsreel. A love of the arts has led her to researching and writing about visual culture in Santo Domingo, and her scholarship more broadly focuses on how Dominican women in Santo Domingo think about their own transnational identities. She recently published the essay, “‘No tienes que entenderlo, solo respetalo’: Xiomara Fortuna, Racism, Feminism and Other Forces in the Dominican Republic” in The Black Scholar (Vol. 45, No. 3).
Michelle Ricardo is a visual artist, poet and social activist, with degrees from Altos de Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic and the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Mexico City. She performs spoken word poetry as part of the international Hip Hop collective Quilomboarte and has presented her work on numerous occasions in the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Her creative discourse provides a critical and reflexive look at her own identity as a Dominican woman and person of African descent as she confronts an alienating and self-sacrificing society at heart of the Caribbean.
Julio Encarnacion Moreno is an anthropologist with a master in cultural affairs. Founding member of the Dominican Institute of Folklore. He is Coordinator of the Unit for Socio-Cultural Animation of the Cultural Department at UASD. He has done extensive research on Dominican culture. Has traveled extensive throughout the Dominican Republic and is currently working with Dagoberto Tejeda Ortiz in a book documenting Dominican Gaga.
Bhakti Durán is a young Dominican-American visual artist. He has always enjoyed drawing super heroes and is enthusiastic about digital animation and new technology. Inspired by the film The Incredibles (2004), he went on to pursue a BFA in computer animation Sam Houston State University, which he completed in 2011. Says Bhakti, “The Dominican Republic is my heritage. Both my parents emigrated from the island where Columbus discovered America. The customs are in my blood. My work on this documentary allows me to draw a moving picture of my culture to give to friends.”