A meditation on memory and perseverance, Álvaro follows 75-year-old Brooklyn resident Álvaro Brandon on his daily route to feed 40 stray cats living in the abandoned lots of his neighborhood.
Co-directors: Alexandra Lazarowich, Daniel J. Wilson, Elizabeth Delaune Warren, Chloe Zimmerman
Co-producers: Alexandra Lazarowich, Elizabeth Delaune Warren
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.
[Through] the process of forming this friendship and making the film 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.
About the filmmakers
Elizabeth Delaune Warren, aka Liz, is a Brooklyn-based teacher and documentary filmmaker. She has produced and directed films with Edgeline Films, Vivid Story, Awake Storytelling, Righteous Pictures and LPZ Media and was a 2014 UnionDocs Collaborative Nonfiction Filmmaking Fellow.
Elizabeth teaches filmmaking and media literacy to youth around New York City and is a founding member of the nonprofit Filmmakers Without Borders.
She holds an MA in international affairs with a concentration in media and culture from the New School for Public Engagement.
Alexandra Lazarowich is an Aboriginal filmmaker 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 as a Cree descendent, she is currently researching a film about the effects of colonization on the Aboriginal people and their culture.
Chloe Zimmerman is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and educator whose interest lies in the experimental documentary realm.
She has worked in documentary production for Academy Award-winning directors and teaches film history and practice at various venues in the city. Through grants and fellowships, Chloe has researched and created work in El Salvador, Peru, Germany and Poland.
She is a graduate of the combined degree program between Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Daniel J. Wilson is an artist and filmmaker working across multiple media.
His work has been exhibited at galleries and festivals internationally including Bunkier Sztuki in Krakow, Broadway Media Centre in the UK, The European Independent Film Festival in Paris, culturaDigital in Rio de Janeiro, Design Festa in Tokyo, the Copenhagen Art Festival, the DUMBO Arts Festival and MoMA PS1 in New York.
He is a co-founder of the one year pop-up non-profit artspace MMX in Berlin.
In 2010 and in 2013 he co-produced and edited a documentary for PBS Frontline examining the issue of gun control in Newtown after the tragedy of 12/14.
Daniel’s work has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the National Film Board of Canada and Canada Council for the Arts.
He holds a bachelor of arts and science from McMaster University, and a masters degree in art and technology from the IT University at Chalmers in Göteborg, Sweden.