Review by Dan Skip Allen
A lot of celebrities get in the spotlight and their relatives, parents, sisters and brothers, and grandparents, get left out of the limelight. Occasionally a sibling team such as the Gyllenhaals become famous together or a father-son duo such as Kirk and Michael Douglas both break out as big-name actors. In the music world, Robin Thicke broke out of his father's shadow and paved his own road. Most of the time they are in obscurity relating to family members. That's not the case with Louis Miranda, father of broadway sensation Lin-Manuel Miranda. He stands in no one's shadow. He even made a name in some circles before his son ever came to fame.
Miranda is a Puerto Rican immigrant. Born and raised in a little town Puerto Rico, he always had aspirations or big dreams to leave his native country. So he came to New York, leaving everyone he knew behind. Always a man of conviction, he wanted to represent his fellow Latinos in New York. He became a voice for his people in the heights where he lived. Word got out how important he was in the Latino community and so this led to a career in politics for Louis. Ed Kotch recruited him to his campaign for Mayor of New York in the early '80s. And this became his job from then on, representing the Latino community in elections for many years to come in New York. His job also eventually included helping Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. He even went on the road to Florida to help in many elections there.
His wife and sons were always part of his life. Like most fathers, he was a huge part of his children's lives, even the ones that became worldwide sensations like Lin Manuel Miranda. Lin-Manuel's first Tony for In the Heights brought his father a lot of pride but his next project Hamilton brought White House visits and worldwide acclaim. Lin-Manuel still couldn't get out of his father's shadow, though. He became an activist for his former country of Puerto Rico after it was hit by a Category 5 hurricane, Maria, in 2017. He continues his activism and assistance for the Democratic party today as this review is being written.
As someone who represents something, he stands for issues that many people can get behind. In a state full of Latinos, I can attest to the fact that this is a huge demographic in this country. More and more Latino leaders are popping up. Louis was doing this work decades before people realized it was important to do so. Latinos represent a huge part of the countries population now. Some states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida are a huge voting base for politicians to get on their side.
Documentaries have to tell a story that is engaging and interesting. Of course, the talking heads are essential in documentaries. Louis's family is the main focus of this doc, but his history in video footage is the meat and potatoes of the film. Filmmaker John James achieves the goal of the film — to get the message of how important this man is in the Latino community and how important his work is. What he accomplished in New York and the country as a political consultant is beyond incredible. Added to what he did for Puerto Rico, he led an incredible life. Look no further than Siempre, Luis for a must-see for anybody looking for inspiration to go do something for your town, state, or country.
Siempre, Luis screened at the Urbanworld Film Festival which runs September 23-27.
One of the writers from disappointment media worked on a film playing as part of the Dances with Films Festival, but they were not involved with the writing of this review.