Private Project


One hurricane, one study, thousands dead. On September 20, 2017 hurricane María hit the island of Puerto Rico with category four winds. The local government reported the number of dead at 64, while a Harvard University led study estimated 4645. This film tells the story of the research team that completed this historic study from the perspective of Dr. Domingo Marqués, the only team member to experience the hurricane firsthand. See how the local government reacted to the now famous study, and how a country that distrusts scientists prepares for the next catastrophic event.

  • Nelson Varas-Díaz
  • Sheilla Rodríguez-Madera
  • Mark Padilla
  • Kevin Grove
  • Domingo Marqués
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    29 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Puerto Rico
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4k
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Nelson Varas-Díaz

Dr. Nelson Varas-Díaz is a Professor of social-community psychology at Florida International University’s Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies. He produced the award winning documentaries “The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal and Community in Puerto Rico” and “The Metal Islands: Culture, History and Politics in Caribbean Metal Music”. He also directed the award-winning documentary "Songs of Injustice: Heavy Metal in Latin America" which has been featured in Rolling Stone. Together, the films have garnered 84 sets of laurels in international film festivals. His documentary film work addresses issues of community formation, linkages between culture and music, and decolonial politics in Latin America.

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Director Statement

What happens when governments persecute scientists and ignore their findings amidst the ever-growing presence of natural disasters? This is the question we set out to address in this film. My hope is that "Collapse" opens up a discussion on the consequences of vilifying scientists and their work in countries that are prone to climate related disasters.