Downloads: Press Release
Film is a co-production of American Documentary | POV and ITVS, in association with Latino Public Broadcasting.
POV (Point of View), American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, has acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to Cecilia Aldarondo’s Memories of a Penitent Heart, a co-production of ITVS. The film has its world premiere tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival and will have its national broadcast premiere on POV in 2017 on PBS.
Memories of a Penitent Heart is a documentary that cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family issues. Like many gay men in the 1980s, Miguel moved from Puerto Rico to New York City; he found a career in theater and a rewarding relationship. In 1987 at the height of the AIDS crisis, he repented of his homosexuality on his deathbed under pressure from his devout Catholic mother. Twenty-five years later, his niece Cecilia pieces together the mystery behind her uncle’s death, sifting through conflicting memories of a man she never really knew. She locates Miguel’s estranged partner, pores over home movies and written documents, and begins to unlock long-dormant family secrets.
“Cecilia’s Aldarondo’s beautiful and evocative film explores the difficulties of not only being Puerto Rican in America, but also what it means to be gay and shunned by your community, family and church,” said POV Executive Producer Chris White. “This personal and complex portrait of her uncle, and those who loved him, shows how hard it can be to reconcile religion and sexual identity—and, in this case, demonstrably clouds the line between sinners and saints.”
About Cecilia Aldarondo
Cecilia Aldarondo holds a master’s degree from Goldsmiths College and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her personal documentary Memories of a Penitent Heart 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 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.”
‘Memories of a Penitent Heart’ Credits:
Director/Producer/Writer: Cecilia Aldarondo; Producer: Patricia Benabe; Cinematographer: Brennan Vance; Editor: Hannah Buck; Composer: Angélica Negrón. Length: 74 minutes. Language: English, Spanish.
POV kicks off its 29th season on PBS on Monday, May 23, 2016 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) with The Return by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway.
POV Series Credits:
Executive Producers: Justine Nagan, Chris White; Vice President, Content Strategy: Eliza Licht; Associate Producer: Nicole Tsien; Coordinating Producer: Nikki Heyman.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.
American Documentary, Inc. (www.amdoc.org)
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation. AmDoc is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
POV films have won 34 Emmy® Awards, 18 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards®, the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award and the Prix Italia. The POV series has been honored with a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, three IDA Awards for Best Curated Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity. In 2013, American Documentary | POV was one of 13 nonprofit organizations around the world to win a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Learn more at www.pbs.org/pov.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Ettinger Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.