Film Image
Making the Impossible Possible
Producer: Gisely Colón López, Tami Gold & Pam Sporn
33 minutes
English, Spanish Subtitles

Making the Impossible Possible

The Story of Puerto Rican Studies in Brooklyn College
MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE tells the story of the student-led struggle to win Puerto Rican Studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY, in the late 1960s. The documentary is a mosaic of voices, film footage, and photographs taken by student activists. This important intergenerational story highlights how students and faculty seized the moment to build upon an alliance of Puerto Rican, African American, and other progressive students forged in their communities and the civil rights movement. Together they changed the face of higher education, transforming the curriculum and expanding who gets educated. The film sheds light on the 50-year history of struggle that started with the founding of one of the first Puerto Rican Studies departments in the nation, and documents the continued movement to maintain their gains.
Produced by Gisely Colón López, Tami Gold and Pam Sporn
Edited by Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez and Pam Sporn
Featuring music by Arturo O’Farrill, Oscar Hernández and BombaYo
A Production of the Alliance for Puerto Rican Education and Empowerment (APREE)
Pricing & Ordering
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Higher Education Institutions DSL 3-years License $300.00
Higher Education Institutions DSL 3-years License $300.00
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“What a fabulous film! I was blown away, uplifted, taken back to the amazing spirit of those times and encouraged by how learning about it can fire up the young movements of today.The unbreakable bonds between Blacks and Puerto Ricans and students and faculty should be the big takeaway here.” - Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Hunter College
“Fantastic film! An essential documentary revealing a rarely examined set of events in New York City's history that has needed to be told for decades. The story of the formation of the Puerto Rican Studies Department at Brooklyn College became the model for similar critical curricula adopted by many Universities and Colleges around the U.S., some of which remain in place today because of the activists and scholars captured in this film.” - Michelle Materre, Founder and Director, Creatively Speaking
"Wow! The energy, the pacing, the archival photos and footage, and the storytelling and storytellers! It teaches and inspires and underlines how important it is to always know the roots of our activism and our victories—on whose shoulders we stand.” - Elena Schwolsky, RN, Author and Educator
“This film illustrates how Brooklyn College students built unity and connected to the Puerto Rican community. This film hit at the heart of why we need ethnic studies and they – these young PR pioneers - were at the helm in the 1960’s. Palante!” - Blanca Vazquez, Hunter College Adjunct Professor, PSC CUNY Executive BD
“What a powerful film! I'm so honored to know this legacy through all of your stories. Thanks for the inspiration.” - Dr. Anna Ortega-Williams, Asst. Professor, Hunter College
“Fantastic Film … a beauty with all that spirit and wow what a history!" - Jane Gold, LCSW-R
“I am blown away by the subject. In very short time you conveyed an amazing story beautiful and accessibly.” - Katherine T. Acey, Director of Strategic Collaborations, GRIOT Circle
“It was wonderful to spend 35 minutes bearing witness to the Puerto Rican struggle.” - Lyn Goldfarb, Filmmaker
“A deeply moving film on an interesting and not widely known struggle. The filmmakers wove together a wonderful and inspiring story.” - Norm Cowie, Filmmaker/Educator
“Excellent. What amazing archival footage. The film helps contextualize what's happening at CUNY now!” - Jillian M. Báez, Department of Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies, Hunter College
"While there are many who question the need for ethnic studies departments, Making the Impossible Possible highlights the value of these programs and departments both within the classroom by providing students an often unavailable opportunity to learn about their cultural and heritage but also outside the classroom by creating a welcoming and supportive space that offers the encouragement necessary for institutions to retain these students through the completion of their degrees... This film is recommended for all collections, especially those supporting Puerto Rican and Latinx studies, the study of education and higher education, and history collections." - Michael A. LaMagna, Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)
• Big Muddy Film Festival, Premiere
• Hostos Community College
• CENTRO for Puerto Rican Studies
• CUNY Latin American/Latinx Studies Symposium
• Teachers College, Columbia University
• Philadelphia Latino Film Festival
• Black Panther Film Festival at Maysles Cinema
• Workers Unite! Film Festival
• Portland Film Festival
• International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival
• Festival de Cine y Derechos Humanos de Vieques
• LASA Film Festival
• New York Latino Film Festival
• Queens World Film Festival

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TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Humanities NY, Ford Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and individual donors.