What if you could rewrite your adolescence? In this high school reunion movie turned inside out, YOU WERE MY FIRST BOYFRIEND, award-winning filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo embarks on a fantastical quest to reconcile her tortured teen years. She ‘goes back’ in more ways than one, tracking down old foes and friends while also reenacting visceral memories of youthful humiliation and desire. Oscillating between present and past, hallucination and reality, YOU WERE MY FIRST BOYFRIEND, is a hybrid documentary that explores the power of adolescent fantasy, the subtle violence of cultural assimilation, and the fun house mirror of time’s passage. Perhaps we will all learn something about growing older and making peace with what haunts us. Aldarondo is an award-winning documentary filmmaker from the Puerto Rican diaspora whose previous titles include MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART and LANDFALL. She takes viewers on a journey through the universal and very relatable social hierarchy of her younger years. As an outcast who always wanted to be a part of the ‘in’ crowd, she spent years pining for a boy who didn’t know she existed. With the insight that comes with age, she takes an honest look at who she was, who she was trying to be, and ultimately who she is today. YOU WERE MY FIRST BOYFRIEND is co-directed by Sarah Enid Hagey, a filmmaker, artist, performer, comedy sketch writer, and sound designer who has edited for over twenty years. The film is Sarah’s first feature length directing experience. Co-directors Cecilia Aldarondo and Sarah Enid Hagey join us for a conversation on they went about collaborating on a project that creatively explores the power of adolescent fantasy, and the subtle violence of cultural assimilation in the hope that we all can learn something about growing older and making peace with that which haunts us.
About the filmmaker – Cecilia Aldarondo is an award-winning documentary director-producer whose work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Firelight Media, Field of Vision, IFP, the Jerome Foundation, and many others. Her feature documentary Memories of a Penitent Heart had its World Premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and will be broadcast on POV in 2017. She is a 2017 Women at Sundance Fellow and was named by Filmmaker Magazine as one of 2015’s ’25 New Faces of Independent Film. For more: blackscracklefilms.com
About the filmmaker – Sarah Enid Hagey is a filmmaker and artist. She is a recipient of the San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie Award for Best Emerging Filmmaker and a grant from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Her work has screened internationally at institutions including The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and MoMA Doc Fortnight. Her work can be seen on feature length documentaries including MR. ANGEL (2013), GRIT & GRIND (2014 Berlinale premiere), the Emmy nominated PBS feature LANDSCAPES OF ENCHANTMENT (2010), ART HOUSE (2013) and narrative films including the much anticipated film. Happy Birthday, Marsha!, as well as many short fiction films. For more: sarahenidhagey.com
“Despite its title, “You Were My First Boyfriend” is at its most effective when Aldarondo moves beyond teen lust and into the more complicated aspects of her upbringing.” – Claire Shaffer, New York Times
“Emotionally, it works. Watching it, I oscillated between being tickled, disturbed, and challenged. Long after the credits finished, I was left pondering my own adolescence, wondering if the narratives I’ve told myself are true and to what extent.” – Cristina Escobar, LatinaMedia.Co
“You Were My First Boyfriend is a painful and beautiful journey where Cecilia Aldarondo lays her soul bare for all to see. We want to hold the hand of the young woman she was and the wonderfully brave woman she is.” – Nadine Whitney, AWFJ.org