The cast, director and producer attended the premiere of Benicio Del Toro-produced film; the film hits NYC theaters today

Por People Staff
Updated Marzo 14, 2008

Thursday night, the Creative Link agency and PEOPLE EN ESPAÑOL, among others, sponsored the premiere of Maldeamores (Lovesickness), the new Puerto-Rico based film whose executive producer is none other than Benicio Del Toro.

The screening room of New York City's Time & Life building was brimming with Puerto Rican pride at the event where the movie that promises to bring Puerto Rican cinema to the forefront was shown. According to Luillo Ruíz, one of the producers, the film premiered in Puerto Rico four weeks ago, and has since then maintained a spot in the country's top five films, competing with Hollywood productions.

“They say Maldeamores is ‘spearheading'…Puerto Rican film,” Ruíz said.

Director Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz agrees, and he can't hold in his excitement about his film, which was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. “Personally, it's a dream because from the beginning we wanted it to premiere here. It's exciting to walk through New York and come here to see your film with this city's audience. That makes us so proud,” he expressed.

On top of having an excellent plot and cinematography, the romantic comedy also has Del Toro's name on it, who, according to Ruiz Ruiz, was very involved with the development of the project, from the casting to giving creative advice. “He's crazy about this project,” the producer said of Del Toro. “When he saw it, he died laughing and was very moved. The only thing he said was: ‘The only thing I regret is not acting in the movie myself .'”

Silvia Brito, who plays Flora, definitely doesn't regret accepting her role in the film. “I think it's a movie that is going to pave the way because it's really well-done,” the Cuban actress said, the excitement noticeable in her voice. Brito, the founder of the Thalía Theater in Queen, NY, also said, “It has a human message that we all need. These are real characters, which is what we need to see, instead of make-believe characters.”

Ruiz Ruiz was especially proud of the actors' abilities to transmit the message in a real way. “We wanted the characters on the screen to feel genuine…and not feel like stars who are above everyone and unreachable. Our idea was to find people who had a vibe that reflected that humanity,” he explained.

Written by Ruiz Ruiz and Jorge González, co-directed by Mariem Pérez Riera (Ruiz Ruiz's wife), and starring Luis Guzmán, Maldeamores has already won a handful of international awards, including at the International Film and Television Festival in Cartagena, in Colombia, the Iberian-American Film Festival in Hueva, in Spain, and the International Film Festival of Chicago. The movie hits theaters today in New York. It arrives in Miami and Orlando the following Friday, Mar. 21, and on Mar. 28 hits theaters in California, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston.