The movie is a portrait of the pioneering activist Luis A. Miranda Jr. Luis is a decades-long fighter for Latino communities, a key player in the New York and national political arena, and a loving father of three – including the award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor of In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The film will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max.
Directed by first-time filmmaker John James, the film had its World Premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary centers on Luis A. Miranda Jr. who left Vega Alta, Puerto Rico for New York City in the 1970s. Filmed over the course of a year, Luis’ devotion to family and country propels him forward despite recent health issues.
With humor and heart, Siempre, Luis tells the story of an unstoppable changemaker and proud American.
Always searching for ways to assist communities in need, particularly when his beloved Puerto Rico is suffering, Luis moves to action following the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, coordinating relief efforts and raising money and awareness while managing the complicated and ambitious tasks involved in bringing his son’s award-winning production of Hamilton to the island. With humor and heart, Siempre, Luis tells the story of an unstoppable changemaker and proud American.
The film tracks Luis’ journey in the United States, which began with his acceptance to a clinical psychology doctoral program at New York University. Following his move at the age of nineteen, Luis quickly finds success in the competitive and fast-paced world of New York City politics, becoming a key figure in communicating to political candidates the importance of engaging with the Latinx community.
A natural problem solver and indispensable bridge to multi-cultural communities, Luis consults for a number of winning political campaigns throughout his career, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaigns for the U.S. Senate and Letitia James as public advocate and New York Attorney General, among others.
The film explores Luis’ vast career and influence in politics, including his time in the 1980s as a special advisor for Hispanic Affairs to Mayor Edward I. Koch, and Director of the Mayor’s Office for Hispanic Affairs. In 1990, Luis was the founding President of the Hispanic Federation, where he became one of New York City’s leading voices for increased support to nonprofit Latino organizations.
He bears witness to unprecedented national political apathy in the face of the deadliest natural disaster to strike Puerto Rico, becoming an advocate for a Puerto Rican diaspora reeling in its aftermath.
In 2017, when disaster strikes Puerto Rico in the form of Hurricane Irma and is quickly followed by the catastrophic devastation of Hurricane Maria, Luis uses his influence and resources to mobilize powerful figures and organizations to bring aid to his home island in a most dire time, working closely with his family along the way. He bears witness to unprecedented national political apathy in the face of the deadliest natural disaster to strike Puerto Rico, becoming an advocate for a Puerto Rican diaspora reeling in its aftermath.
… he works to bring much-needed fundraising, and morale-building, new touring production of Hamilton to the island alongside his son, Lin-Manuel, all while remaining a committed father who refuses to outsource the around-the-clock obligations that define fatherhood.
He grapples with growing national xenophobia that threatens his family’s vision of a more inclusive Union. Without missing a beat, he works to bring much-needed fundraising, and morale-building, new touring production of Hamilton to the island alongside his son, Lin-Manuel, all while remaining a committed father who refuses to outsource the around-the-clock obligations that define fatherhood.
Siempre, Luis features interviews and appearances by notable figures in politics and entertainment, such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the late former NY Mayor Ed Koch, Senator Chuck Schumer, former NY State Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez, former NY Secretary of State Lorraine Cortez-Vazquez, U.S. Congresswoman Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller, and many more.
Siempre, Luis is directed by John James; written by Raul Santos, John James, Carlos Garcia de Dios, Luis Alvarez y Alvarez; produced by Katie Taber, John James, Carlos Garcia de Dios; executive produced by Michael Stolper; cinematography by Carlos García de Dios; edited by Luis Alvarez y Alvarez. Endeavor Content financed the documentary. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller; senior producer, Sara Rodriguez.
Editor’s Note: the film intimates that the American Dream, is not a dream because Mr. Luis is living it.
Photo credit: Luis A. Miranda Jr., by John James.