Baltazar in New York

It wouldn’t have felt right to attend the premiere of The Last Ice Merchant alone while so many great people helped to make the film possible. So, I invited Baltazar, his daughter Carmen and producer Rodrigo Donoso to join me in New York for the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012. It is all too simple to watch a movie and forget that the people in it are real, but Baltazar, standing in front of the film festival audience, could bring Ecuador to the theater. And for Baltazar, who had never been outside of Ecuador before, it would be a chance for a cultural exchange in the opposite direction, as well as a symbol of my appreciation for all that he has done for me, the movie and his community. And so, just four days before our first screening at the festival, Baltazar, Carmen and Rodrigo landed at JFK airport in New York City. The following slide show documents their trip.

Baltazar and his family board a bus to the Quito airport

Baltazar's family

Saying goodbye at the Quito airport

Baltazar's first plan ride

Baltazar's first plane meal

At JFK airport

Rodrigo, Carmen and Baltazar arrive at baggage claim

Sandy greets Baltazar and Carmen

Baltazar's apartment in Brooklyn

Baltazar's block

Carmen gets a checkup at a local hospital

Baltazar's first subway ride

Baltazar's first pizza

A bagpiper at Union Square

Advertisements for the Tribeca Film Festival plastered the city

Baltazar enjoyed a Japanese ice cream sandwich

Baltazar accidentally locked himself in the bathroom

New York laundry machines

Carmen discovers that New Yorkers sometimes throw away perfectly good things

These free boots will keep her feet warm on Chimborazo

Rhinos at the Natural History Museum

Giraffes at the Natural History Museum

Baltazar saw a lot of things that he had never seen before at the Natural History Museum

Carmen knitting in the Inca textiles section of the Natural History Museum

The dinosaur hall at the Natural History Museum

Baltazar at the Natural History Museum

Carmen sees her first tiger at the Natural History Museum

At the Natural History Museum

Cherry blossoms in Central Park

Cherry blossoms in Central Park

Baltazar draws with chalk in Central Park

Sandy's mother with Carmen in Central Park

Baltazar with the Mad Hatter in Central Park

At the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park

Near Central Park

Street performers near Central Park

Baltazar on 5th Ave.

Looking up at the tops of the buildings

A man from Colombia introduces himself

A Colombian man lets Carmen try on Jewelry at Bulgari

Carmen is wearing $1.2 million of jewelry at Bulgari

A Colombian man lets Carmen try on Jewelry at Bulgari

Baltazar makes friends wherever he goes!

At a Tribeca Film Festival Party

Rodrigo shaves Baltazar on the day of the premiere

Baltazar visits the World Trade Center

The new World Trade Center

The statue of liberty

Baltazar had never been to the water before

At the Museum of the American Indian

A street performer in the financial district

Baltazar tries on some new shoes

Baltazar likes his new shoes

At a Peruvian restaurant in Corona, Queens

Baltazar receives a song from a Colombian woman

At the premiere in New York City!

Baltazar and Carmen wait for the premiere

At the Q&A after the premiere

After the premiere

Andes Manta plays at the premiere party

New friends at the premiere party

New friends at the premiere party

As usual, Baltazar makes friends wherever he goes

Baltazar and Carmen at JFK, ready to return to Ecuador