Premiering "200 Cartas"

The stars of "200 Cartas," Lin-Manuel Miranda and Dayanara Torres, arriving at the red carpet reception.

As we've said all along, the effort to Return Film to the Palace is not about creating a movie theatre that shows the same films you find at your local multiplex (that is if Washington Heights HAD a multiplex). Instead our aim is to be able to host event films and showcase art where projection is one part of the artistic experience. 

Last week we presented a film that complemented a musical theatre production. On June 12 was the perfect example of the type of event film we plan to do when we hosted the world premiere of the independent movie "200 Cartas."

The view of the opening credits from the upper loge with projector in the foreground.

Written and directed by Bruno Irizarry, it's a bilingual romantic comedy about the life of a Puerto Rican comic book writer born in NY. One night Raul meets Maria, a young Puerto Rican woman visiting New York. Raul is struck by love at first sight before the couple is suddenly separated. Bewitched by her beauty, he travels to Puerto Rico for the first time to search the island for her, accompanied by his best friend Juan and armed only with her all-too-common name: Maria Sanchez. It stars Heights hometown hero Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mexican telenovela superstar Jaime Camil, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, and Puerto Rican icon Iris Chacón.

This is a movie mostly set in Puerto Rico with Latino characters that speak in both English and Spanish (with subtitles for each) striving to find a general audience (it plays at AMC Theatres in Times Square (212-398-2597) and the Bronx (718-320-1659) for two weeks beginning June 14). It was the perfect film to premiere at the Palace.

Iris Chacón speaks during the Q&A after the film.

The audience of about 700 paying customers and 300 VIPs looooooved it. The first joke just minutes into the film garnered big laughs, which continued to grow as the story unfolded. It was one of those magical nights when the right audience meets the right artistic expression. We are reminded that there is a Latino market, particularly in Dominican-rich Washington Heights, that is dying to see their faces on the silver screen.

The audience during the Q&A.

The Palace provided more than just a 50-foot silver screen and thousands of seats in an opulent setting for the premiere. We also hosted the red carpet reception on the mezzanine and the after party on the stage. It provided the VIPs the opportunity to view the Palace from an artist's vantage point, providing an exclamation mark on what had already been an unforgettable evening.

The after party on the stage of the United Palace.