Invited guest: director José María Cabral

José María Cabral’s latest feature offers a realistic glimpse into the harshness of life in jail while maintaining moments of levity and hope. From the windows of a Dominican prison, male prisoners communicate with neighboring female inmates through an invented sign language called “woodpeckering.” Male prisoner Julián is charged with sending messages to female inmate Yanelly by her ex-husband, but Julián and Yanelly fall helplessly and unexpectedly in love.

Cabral infuses his film with a captivating Dominican flavor, expressed through wonderfully believable performances in this story of Romeo and Juliet proportions.

 Love Behind Bars: An Interview with “Woodpeckers” Director José María Cabral

About the Special Guest
José María Cabral González is a Dominican film director, screenwriter, and producer. Cabral started making films when he was 16 years old, and he made his first feature film, Jaque Mate, in 2011. It was screened at a number of film festivals and selected as the Dominican entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards. Cabral premiered Woodpeckers at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

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José María Cabral
Spanish with English subtitles
Dominican Republic
Running Time
106 minutes
Digital, Color