Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2012

Capstone Advisor

Owen Shapiro

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Visual and Performing Arts

Audio/Visual Component


Audio/Visual Location

Honors Library

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Broadcast and Video Studies | Film and Media Studies


The inspiration for Frente al Mar (Oceanfront) came in 2009 during the winter break vacation in my first year of college. I was visiting my home in Puerto Rico, when the story broke in the news about a group of families being evicted from their houses after living there for many years.

According to the reports, the government identified these families as squatters and Dominican immigrants. As I was watching the news, TV reporter Efrén Arroyo was giving a summary of the entire situation, as well as placing it in the context of similar cases in the past.

February 6, 1980, was the date when the police killed Adolfina Villanueva, leaving her six children, ages two to thirteen, motherless, and her husband – who was also wounded in the attack – a widower. They were all removed from the house, and immediately after, the police brought in a bulldozer and demolished the building. They were determined to enforce the “law,” regardless of the consequences.

After I watched Efrén Arroyo’s newscast, I was completely outraged by the facts. It was mind-blowing to realize the extent to which the police, representing government authority, would impose itself to enforce the law, no matter how unfair it was.

Few knew and fewer cared about Adolfina’s real story, and the reason why she came out of her house with the machete. I grew frustrated knowing that this could continue to happen, not to the same extent, but that authorities could get away with destroying families. I felt the urge to tell Adolfina’s story in Frente al mar (Oceanfront), a short film that explores the injustice towards a poor family and shows how a mother is capable of sacrificing her life to defend her home and her family. This maternal value transcends different cultures and eras.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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