Siqueiros: Walls of Passion

Meet David Alfaro Siqueiros: activist, provocateur, and one of Mexico's greatest muralists.

 Los Angeles mural “América Tropical"
Doc World
Premiere Date
September 19, 2020
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
Diversity Development Fund
filmmaker Lorena Manríquez

Lorena Manríquez

Lorena Manríquez is an award-winning independent filmmaker and president of Andes Media, LLC. Her love of film was nurtured at an early age as she watched Spanish and French films in Santiago, Chile, where she was born and raised. She has been the recipient of a number of film industry fellowships, including the National Association of Latino Independent Show more Producers (NALIP) Latino Producers Academy, the CPB/PBS Producers Academy, the NBPC New Media Institute, the Independent Feature Project (IFP) Rough Cut Lab, and the Firelight Producer’s Lab. She recently finished Ulises’ Odyssey (2014), which was selected for several media markets including Sunny Side of the Doc, Latin Side of the Doc, IFP Film Week, Visions du Réel, and the Latino Media Market, and will soon have it’s premiere at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago. Siqueiros: Walls of Passion was awarded a 2010 and a 2012 California Documentary Project grant by Cal Humanities, a 2012 ITVS Diversity Development Fund, and a 2012 Latino Public Broadcasting Public Media Fund. She is a co-producer of Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype (2012). Show less

filmmaker Miguel Picker
Director/Director of Photography/Editor/Composer

Miguel Picker

Miguel Picker, a New York-based Chilean American filmmaker, is an award-winning director, editor, and music composer. He produced and directed Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype (2012), which was featured on NPR, NBC Latino, won the Audience Award at the Reel Rasquache Art and Film Festival in 2013, and has been shown at the Museum of Show more Moving Images in New York City. The film has been on the bestseller list of the Media Education Foundation since its release. He also edited and composed music for Borinqueneers (2007), broadcast nationally on PBS in 2007 and the winner of the Audience Award at the Orlando Hispanic Film Festival, 2009, and Insight Award of Excellence by the National Association of Film and Digital Media Artists, 2008. Picker has also independently produced many other films, including The Price of Pleasure (2008), Beyond Good and Evil (2003), and Mickey Mouse Monopoly (2001). Before moving to New York in 2004, Picker worked as an editor at WGBH-TV in Boston for 15 years, and the programs he edited and produced won numerous national and international awards, including four Golden Eagle Awards and three Emmy Awards. Picker co-directed Ulises’ Odyssey and Siqueiros: Walls of Passion with Lorena Manríquez, and both programs have been awarded numerous grants and honors.   Show less

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The Film

Siqueiros: Walls of Passion captures the story of Mexican visual artist David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974) and the resurrection of his Los Angeles mural “América Tropical,” located at the birthplace of Los Angeles and later championed by the Chicano movement as a symbol of its oppressed culture. One of the great Mexican artists of the 20th century and one of three great Mexican muralists (with Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco), Siqueiros was a controversy-stirring revolutionary and lifetime activist who lived with theatrical flair and painted on an epic scale.

As one of the primary advocates of modern public art, Siqueiros made his name on the world stage: he painted murals in Mexico, the U.S., Cuba, Chile, and Argentina; fought as a soldier in the Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Civil War; and even taught Jackson Pollock the drip technique in his experimental workshop in New York. He worked on an international level, promoting his revolutionary version of muralism in the United States, South America, Cuba, Europe, and the Soviet Union. As an active political figure and a committed Marxist, he was twice exiled from Mexico. In 1932 he was exiled to Los Angeles, and in 1940 to Chile following his assassination attempt on Leon Trotsky.

However, it was during his 6-month stay in California during his 1932 exile that Siqueiros defied both convention and authority to paint the artistic masterpiece “América Tropical.” Shortly after this mural’s unveiling, it was immediately whitewashed because of its political content, but ironically the whitewash preserved it until its re-discovery in the 1960s when it would inspire the Chicano Muralist Movement in Los Angeles.