With intimate and unprecedented access, this film tells the story of one of the most important, yet least-known, activists in American history.
Cecilia Aldarondo holds an M.A. from Goldsmiths College and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her personal documentary Memories of a Penitent Heart is a co-production of American Documentary | POV, ITVS, and Latino Public Broadcasting. The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and broadcast on POV in 2017. Memories has… Show more received additional support from the MacDowell Colony, the Sundance Institute, Arcus and Time Warner Foundations, Jerome Foundation, Firelight Media, and New York State Council on the Arts, among others. In 2015 the film was selected for IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs as well as Sundance Institute's Edit and Story Lab, and was the winner of the 2015 Paley DocPitch. Aldarondo is Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Skidmore College, was the inaugural recipient of the Roberto Guerra Documentary Award in 2015, and has been named by FILMMAKER magazine as one of 2015’s ‘25 New Faces of Independent Film. Show less
Combining a wealth of recently discovered home movies, video, and written documents with artfully shot contemporary interviews and vérité footage, Memories of a Penitent Heart is a documentary that cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family drama. Originating from filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo's suspicion that there was something ugly in her family’s past, the film charts her excavation of the buried family conflict around her uncle Miguel’s death, and her search for Miguel’s partner Robert a generation later.
A story about the mistakes of the past and the second chances of the present, Memories of a Penitent Heart is a cautionary tale about the unresolved conflicts wrought by AIDS, and a nuanced exploration of how faith is used and abused in times of crisis.