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Memories of a Penitent Heart screening with Cecilia Aldarondo


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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. After two years of dead ends, Robert turns up: but he’s not the same man. He’s reinvented himself as Father Aquin, a Franciscan monk with twenty-five years of pent-up grief and bitterness. For the first time, a member of Miguel’s family wants to hear Aquin’s side of the story—but is it too little, too late? 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. (2017, 60 min)

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Director, Producer, and Writer CECILIA ALDARONDO

Cecilia Aldarond 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 Latino Public Broadcasting, and ITVS. The film has received additional support from the MacDowell Colony, the Sundance Institute, Jerome Foundation, Firelight Media, and New York State Council on the Arts, among others. In 2015 MEMORIES 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.’

Part of the Contexts of Coalition and Counter Cinema/Counter Media projects of the CSGS and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop.