An intimate family portrait, of memory, sound, and loss, during the 1980's AIDS epidemic.
Leo's Last Name, is an homage I made for my father who passed away from AIDS in 1989 when I was two years old. This film was a gift to my family as a way to liberate the unspoken demons of tabooed subjects in our society. In it I wanted to pay tribute to the LGBT community and the manner in which they helped my family get through this difficult chapter in our lives. This film, as a result, is not only my attempt to know a man I never knew, but lay to rest the fears and apprehensions which his death created for my family for the countless other families whose loved ones passed during the AIDS Epidemic.
FORMAT OF SHOW: A short feature for television (POV/PBS). Documentary Short, Investigative Family Portrait, Health/Mental
Health & AIDS, LGBT, Mexican-American, Personal Stories, Racism, Stills.
THEMES: Documentary, diary, family portraits, interview, archival footage, experimental, and personal narration)
Leo’s Last Name, is an intimate collage, family portrait, combining archival footage, sound design, personal narration, and interviews, following the filmmaker’s family and their method of coping with the loss of a father to AIDS.
This investigative documentary follows the filmmaker, Edda Manriquez, as she questions the silence behind the mysterious death of her father in 1989. Using her father’s last possessions as clues, the filmmaker embarks on a journey towards uncovering and retracing his final days and the impact his death left on the family.
After attempting to reconnect with her estranged family members, and having never met them, the filmmaker gets an opportunity to contact her father’s close relatives. Blending personal accounts and archival VHS family footage, the filmmaker, explores themes of identity, loss, and the use of media as a way to exercise internalized demons brought on by traumatic collective experiences.
Having one day been sent an audio file of her father’s voice recounting the filmmaker’s estranged family history, Edda Manriquez, embarks on a journey to rekindle the friendships her father left behind, thus bringing her closer to the man she never knew. Leo’s Last Name, is an intimate dissection of how the AIDS epidemic stuck and affected a Mexican- American family and the unspoken repercussions of one man’s hidden identity.