Maintenance Work

Co-presented with Metrograph

Presented as part of Unraveling Paradise, curated by Dessane Lopez Cassell.

In celebration of International Workers’ Day, Maintenance Work considers the labor required to uphold the idyllic settings associated with notions of paradise. From Joiri Minaya’s Labadee to Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada’s El Sitio de Los Sitios (Site of Sites), the films gathered here revel in the mundane, slyly swapping the fantasies of the West for the perspectives of those who are often kept consciously out of view.


Labadee. 2017. Dir. Joiri Minaya. Haiti/USA. 7 mins.
With sly humor and acerbic wit, Labadee hones in on the gulf of power and privilege that exists between cruise guests, employees, and locals. Invoking the writings of Christopher Columbus as she pans over crystalline waters, Minaya invites audiences to contemplate the connections between colonialism and extractive tourism as they play out in Labadee beach in Haiti, a “secluded piece of fake paradise, tailored to the fantasies of those who can afford it.”

El Sitio de los Sitios (Site of Sites). 2016. Dirs. Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada. Dominican Republic. 61 mins.
With melodic precision, El Sitio de los Sitios captures the absurdity of the tropical fantasies peddled to tourists. Here, machinery roars as workers toil to build an artificial beach, while other employees contemplate the finer things that remain endlessly out of reach. Equally incisive and humorous, El Sitio de Los Sitios highlights a Caribbean mundane normally swept out of view. 

Screening followed by a Q&A with Joiri Minaya


Natalia Cabral is an award-winning Dominican filmmaker, born in Santo Domingo, and a frequent collaborator with Oriol Estrada. After studying cinema at the prestigious EICTV Cuban Film School, where she met Estrada, Cabral co-founded Faula Films to support independent films in the Dominican Republic. She went on to direct two feature-length documentaries: You And Me (2014), which premiered at Visions du Réel, and Site Of Sites (2016) which premiered at IDFA. With Miriam Lies (2018), Cabral turns to fiction for the first time, receiving a special mention from the jury at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. A Film About Couples is Cabral’s recent film, again in collaboration with Estrada, which recently premiered at the Rome Film Festival. 

Oriol Estrada, who co-founded Faula Films with Natalia Cabral, is an award-winning Spanish filmmaker. He studied cinema at the famed EICTV Cuban Film School and, joining forces with Cabral, directed two feature-length documentaries—You And Me (2014) and Site of Sites (2016)—before turning to fiction with Miriam Lies (2018), premiering at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and receiving a special mention from the jury, among other awards. A Film About Couples, is both Cabral and Estrada’s recent film, a meta-cinema adventure that mixes fiction and reality, winner of the French Critics Award at Biarritz Amérique Latine Festival and best Spanish Film and Script at the Gijón International Film Festival. 

Joiri Minaya (b. 1990) is a Dominican-United Statesian NY based multi-disciplinary artist. She attended the Escuela Nacional de Artes Visuales (DR), the Chavón School of Design, and Parsons the New School for Design. Minaya has exhibited across the Caribbean, the U.S. and internationally. She has recently received a Jerome Hill Felllowship, a NY Artadia award and the BRIC’s Colene Brown Art Prize, as well as grants from foundations like Nancy Graves, Rema Hort Mann, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. She been awarded in two Dominican biennials (XXV Concurso León Jimenes; XXVII National Biennial) and has participated in residencies at Skowhegan, Smack Mellon, Bronx Museum, Red Bull House of Art, LES Printshop, Socrates Sculpture Park, Art Omi, ISCP and Vermont Studio Center.