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 US 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. LANDFALL 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?
Moderated by Lana Lin, Director of the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies. Co-produced with Documentary Program Associates Cacau Araujo (Doc Studies ’22 & Media Studies ’23) and Tiffany Jiang (Doc Studies ’22 & Media Studies ’23).
Cecilia Aldarondo is a director-producer from the Puerto Rican diaspora who works at the intersection of poetics and politics. Her feature documentaries MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART (2016) and LANDFALL (2020) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and were co-produced by the award-winning PBS series POV. LANDFALL’s many awards include the 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival Viewfinders Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, as well as Cinema Eye and Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. Currently she is directing her third feature, a co-production with HBO. Among Aldarondo’s fellowships and honors are the 2022 IDA Emerging Filmmaker Award, the Guggenheim, a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the 2021 New America Fellowship, and Women at Sundance 2017. In 2019 she was named to DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40 list and is one of 2015’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She teaches at Williams College.
Presented by the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies
School of Media Studies, The New School