NEW YORK (PIX11) — November is Puerto Rican Heritage Month. One of the biggest events celebrating its culture and the art of cinema is the 12th annual International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival. It lasts five days from Nov. 9-13.

The International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival is a community film festival that helps highlight and uplift the filmmaking of Puerto Ricans in New York City, on the island and across the globe.

Melvin Audaz, from Park Slope, is excited to be one of the filmmakers showing his work at this year’s festival. Audaz is the director and producer of “Simple Locura: Henry Cole,” a short documentary film about the life of Henry Cole, a Puerto Rican drummer and composer, who is also from New York City. The film tells the life story of Cole, who was orphaned at a young age and became a superstar musician.

Audaz is one of more than 75 filmmakers presenting their work at the festival. This year there is a wide variety of films, shorts, animation and panel discussions with industry leaders.

The festival’s director, Xavier Santiago, said the goal is to tell the stories of issues important to the heritage of Puerto Rico and relevant to the Latino community.

Programs and films will be shown in several locations in East Harlem. Opening night is Wednesday, Nov. 9 at El Museo del Barrio. It is also a fundraiser for families impacted by Hurricane Fiona.

The festival is honoring actress and humanitarian Rosie Perez with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

If you can’t attend in person, there’s a way to watch the films virtually on the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival website.