Watch: New documentary delves into Puerto Rico’s transgender community

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A new documentary features the lives of nine transgender and drag individuals in Puerto Rico.

Exclusively shown at a handful of film festivals last year, Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ film ‘Mala Mala’ has premièred this week in New York.

The subjects are recorded throughout their individual journeys – some working as business owners, others as LGBT activists.

April Carrion gives the audience a look into the drag queen scene, whereas Ivana Fred presents her insight on prostitution in Puerto Rico.

Co-director Dan Sickles told Indiewire: “We had lots of different reasons to drop the project and walk away because every single moment of it was difficult.

“But I think all of these obstacles and all of these crazy stories were, if anything, what made us keep going.”

So far the film has received broadly positive reviews, with Ronnie Scheib from Variety observing: “Beginning as a colourful documentary about the Puerto Rican transgender community… Mala Mala slowly morphs into a celebration of solidarity and collective activism without ever losing sight of its likable protagonists.”


While the documentary has caught attention at festivals across the US, it has been featured in Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago.

In 2014, the Tribeca Film Festival presented the documentary second-place for the Audience Award. It also received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature.