The Mamboniks

Dir. Lex Gillespie | 90 min
Documentary United States 2019
English DC Premiere

Saturday, May 186:00 PM Bethesda Row Cinema

Wednesday, May 228:30 PM AFI Silver Theatre

During the 1950s, free-spirited, mostly Jewish dancers from New York City fell head over heels for the mambo, a hot dance from Havana, Cuba. Their love for Latin rhythms earned them a nickname: the mamboniks.

DC-based filmmaker Lex Gillespie tracks their joyous story from the Jewish resorts of the Catskills, to Manhattan’s famed Palladium Ballroom, Florida’s Gold Coast Ballroom and of course Havana. Featuring the infectious sounds of Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Mongo Santamaría, Gillespie explores how Jewish people, Latinos and African-Americans met on the dance floor at a time when America was racially segregated, and anti-Semitism was commonplace.

Screenings followed by a conversation with filmmaker Lex Gillespie.

Co-presented by Haberman Institute for Jewish Studies Inter-American Development Bank

Supported in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.


Screenings followed by a conversation with filmmaker Lex Gillespie

Lex Gillespie is a Peabody and duPont-Columbia Award-winning public radio producer turned film director. For the past 25 years, he’s produced documentaries on music, history and culture. My credits include The Science Sisters, the story of four Latina students who competed in Chicago’s Science Fair; A Kind and Just Parent, about the creation of the first juvenile court in the US; and Whole Lotta Shakin a 10-hour series on the birth of rock ’n roll. The Mamboniks is his first film.

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Print Source

Lex Gillespie

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Pricing Tier

Tier A

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