Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, Feinberg Series to Screen Award-Winning Film on Post-Hurricane María Puerto Rico, Host Conversation with Director

Cecilia Aldarondo
Cecilia Aldarondo

AMHERST, Mass. – The 28th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival and the 2020-2021 UMass Amherst History Department Feinberg Series co-present an online conversation with the acclaimed director-producer and academic, Cecilia Aldarondo, on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m., on her award-winning 2020 documentary film, “Landfall.” The film will stream on-demand from Feb. 19 through March 5. Both the screening and conversation are free and open to the public.

Cecilia Aldarondo is a documentary director-producer from the Puerto Rican diaspora who makes films at the intersection of poetics and politics. Her feature documentary, “Memories of a Penitent Heart” (Tribeca 2016) had its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast on POV in 2017. She is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2017 Women at Sundance Fellow, two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow and recipient of a 2019 Bogliasco Foundation Residency. In 2019 she was named to DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40 list and is one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film for 2015. She is also an academic and educator and teaches at Williams College. The conversation will be moderated by Patricia Montoya, a video maker, educator and Five College Inc. Artist in Residence.

Through shard-like glimpses of everyday life in post-Hurricane María Puerto Rico, “Landfall” is a cautionary tale for our times. Set against the backdrop of protests that toppled the U.S. colony’s governor in 2019, the film offers a prismatic portrait of collective trauma and resistance. While the devastation of María attracted a great deal of media coverage, the world has paid far less attention to the storm that preceded it: a 72-billion-dollar debt crisis crippling Puerto Rico well before the winds and waters hit. The film examines the kinship of these two storms—one environmental, the other economic—juxtaposing competing utopian visions of recovery. Featuring intimate encounters with Puerto Ricans as well as the newcomers flooding the island, “Landfall” reflects on a question of contemporary global relevance: When the world falls apart, who do we become?

The film screening and conversation are co-presented by the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival and the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series. The 28th annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival explores the power and promise of Alliances, presenting an international program of documentary, narrative, and experimental films, from the United States, Puerto Rico, Iran, France, Egypt, Brazil, and South Korea, that pose compelling visions of connection with people, ecologies, and ideas. The festival is directed by Daniel Pope with Nefeli Forni, assistant curator and presented by the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The 2020-2021 UMass Amherst History Department Feinberg Series, titled “Planet on a Precipice,” is exploring the history and possible futures of the environmental emergency. All events are free and open to everyone, and recordings are available on the Feinberg Series website: The series is made possible by UMass alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg and associates and offered by the UMass History Department in collaboration with more than three dozen community and university partners.

More information, registration and the trailer are available on the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival and Feinberg Series websites.