Álvaro

A meditation on memory and perseverance while following a resident's daily route
Álvaro is a meditation on memory and perseverance in the midst of personal and communal change. As seasons pass, 75-year-old Brooklyn resident Álvaro Brandon traces a quotidian path between the vacant lots of his community in order to feed 40 stray cats. While he navigates changes in his neighborhood and in his relationship with his wife as she succumbs to Alzheimer’s Disease, his routine assumes Sisyphean proportions, suggesting, alongside his unwavering generosity, a deeper search for present meaning in the face of an impossible future.

 

Director’s Statement

‘There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles’ radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of human life.’
— Henry David Thoreau, Walking

We spent the greater part of a year walking with Álvaro. As seasons passed, we got to know the intricacies of his daily route and became familiar with the peculiarities of each cat he feeds. We learned about his neighborhood and his life through the stories that came to him, often inspired by chance, on a given walk — a memory sparked by a building we passed, a rumination on his past relationships drawn from the antics of a particular cat that day.

Spending so much time documenting the life of a single person, we inevitably kindled a friendship that went beyond a straightforward subject/filmmaker relationship. Our intimacy with Álvaro was both rewarding and challenging and pushed us to consider the role and responsibilities of the documentary filmmaker.

The process of forming this friendship and making Álvaro encouraged us to pay more attention. To listen carefully. To embrace meandering walks. To be more open minded, and to be kinder. Álvaro’s father was a famous Nuyorican spoken word poet, and we hear that legacy in Álvaro’s speech, in his deliberate words and in the cadence of his voice. We hope with our film to translate a bit of this poetry.”

— Daniel Wilson, Liz Warren, Alexandra Lazarowich, Chloe Zimmerman

Team

Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson is a multiple media artist, expanding filmmaking practices into performance, written word, digital publications, and installations.

Wilson’s work has been exhibited at galleries and festivals internationally, including Bunkier Sztuki in Kraków, Broadway Media Center in Nottingham, The European Independent Film Festival in Paris, culturaDigital in Rio de Janeiro, and the Copenhagen Art Festival, MoMA PS1 and the DUMBO Arts Festival. He was a co-founder of the one-year pop-up non-profit artspace MMX in Berlin during 2010. Wilson has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the National Film Board of Canada, GRAND NCE and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Delaune Warren is a Brooklyn based filmmaker, teacher, and activist. She is currently producing a feature length documentary and teaching filmmaking and media literacy throughout New York City. Elizabeth is a founding member of the nonprofit FILMMAKERS without BORDERS and holds an MA in International Affairs with an emphasis in Media and Culture from The New School.

Alexandra Lazarowich

Alexandra Lazarowich

Alexandra Lazarowich is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker originally from Canada. She makes films concerning the conditions of the lives of Aboriginal people in today’s world. With a background in history studies and being a descendant of the Cree people, she is currently researching a film about the effects of colonization on the Aboriginal people and their culture.

Chloe Zimmerman

Chloe Zimmerman

Chloe is an artist, filmmaker and educator whose interest lies in the experimental documentary realm. Based in New York, she teaches film history and practice at various venues in the city, including Mono No Aware and the Museum of the Moving Image. Creatively, she is interested in the ways in which we make meaning and tell stories — from the intimate to the national to the cosmological. Chloe was a 2013-14 UnionDocs Collaborative Fellow, and is a graduate of the Combined Degree Program between Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson is a multiple media artist, expanding filmmaking practices into performance, written word, digital publications, and installations.

Wilson’s work has been exhibited at galleries and festivals internationally, including Bunkier Sztuki in Kraków, Broadway Media Center in Nottingham, The European Independent Film Festival in Paris, culturaDigital in Rio de Janeiro, and the Copenhagen Art Festival, MoMA PS1 and the DUMBO Arts Festival. He was a co-founder of the one-year pop-up non-profit artspace MMX in Berlin during 2010. Wilson has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the National Film Board of Canada, GRAND NCE and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Delaune Warren is a Brooklyn based filmmaker, teacher, and activist. She is currently producing a feature length documentary and teaching filmmaking and media literacy throughout New York City. Elizabeth is a founding member of the nonprofit FILMMAKERS without BORDERS and holds an MA in International Affairs with an emphasis in Media and Culture from The New School.

Alexandra Lazarowich

Alexandra Lazarowich

Alexandra Lazarowich is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker originally from Canada. She makes films concerning the conditions of the lives of Aboriginal people in today’s world. With a background in history studies and being a descendant of the Cree people, she is currently researching a film about the effects of colonization on the Aboriginal people and their culture.

Chloe Zimmerman

Chloe Zimmerman

Chloe is an artist, filmmaker and educator whose interest lies in the experimental documentary realm. Based in New York, she teaches film history and practice at various venues in the city, including Mono No Aware and the Museum of the Moving Image. Creatively, she is interested in the ways in which we make meaning and tell stories — from the intimate to the national to the cosmological. Chloe was a 2013-14 UnionDocs Collaborative Fellow, and is a graduate of the Combined Degree Program between Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Credits

Featuring Álvaro Brandon

Directed by Alexandra Lazarowich, Elizabeth Dealaune Warren, Daniel J Wilson & Chloe Zimmerman

Producers: Alexandra Lazarowich, Elizabeth Delaune Warren
Cinematography: Daniel J Wilson
Additional cinematography: Elizabeth Delaune Warren, Chloe Zimmerman
Editors: Daniel J Wilson, Elizabeth Delaune Warren
Sound design: Chloe Zimmerman
Translation: Alejandra Sacio, Chloe Zimmerman
Project mentor: Sam Green
Collaborative program instructor: Chi-Hui Yang

Special thanks: The Brandon Family, Danya Abt, Kevin Allen, Caitlin Boyle, Sarah J. Christman, Anne-Katrine Hansen, Steve Holmgren, Nathan Kensinger, Janna Kyllästinen, Emir Lewis, Pejk Manlinovski, Yael Melamede, Lucilla Moctezuma, Alejandra Sacio, Hilke Schellmann, Hemal Trivedi

UnionDocs Collaborative Studio Director: Toby Lee

UnionDocs Artistic Director: Christopher Allen

2013-2014 Collaborative Fellows: Alexandra Lazarowich, Anne-Katrine Hansen, Arisleyda Dilone, Chloe Zimmerman, Daniel Wilson, Danya Abt, Elizabeth Warren, Janna Kyllästinen, John Larson, Joyce Wong, Samantha Richardson, Stanzi Vaubel

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