Cecilia Aldarondo Is the First Recipient of the Roberto Guerra Documentary Fund

Filmmaker Kathy Brew and UnionDocs have announced Puerto Rican director Cecilia Aldarondo (pictured) as the first recipient of the Roberto Guerra Documentary Fund with a cash prize of $2,500 to support the completion of her first feature-length documentary Memories of a Penitent Heart (pictured below).

In Aldarondo’s debut feature, twenty-five years after her uncle Miguel died of AIDS, Aldarondo tracks down his gay lover and cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family drama. The film is currently in post-production and the grant funds will be used towards costs of an original music score for the film.

Aldarondo's personal documentary Memories of a Penitent Heart has been supported by grants and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, the Sundance Institute, The Time Warner Foundation, Firelight Media, The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, and The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP). In 2015, Memories of a Penitent Heart was selected for IFP's Independent Filmmaker Lab as well as Sundance Institute's Edit and Story Lab. That same year, Aldarondo was selected as one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film."

The Roberto Guerra Documentary Fund was launched in the fall of 2014 during the Fifth Contemporary Peruvian Film Showcase, and is named after the late Peruvian New York-based filmmaker who died in January 2014. The Fund aims to honor Roberto Guerra’s life and legacy in the field by supporting and encouraging an emerging Latin-American or US-based Latino filmmaker living in New York in the creation of his or her documentary work.

Media artist Kathy Brew, Roberto Guerra’s long-time collaborator and wife, established the Fund in partnership with UnionDocs as the non-profit administrator. To date, the fund has raised almost $15,000. A select group of people in the field were invited to nominate potential candidates and then a selection panel composed by curator Maria-Christina Villaseñor, video artist Edín Vélez, and Cinema Tropical’s Carlos A. Gutiérrez, convened to select the winner.