Ulises Odyssey

: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Completed


Filmmaker Lorena Manríquez embarks on a journey to search for the truth behind a 30-year-old rift between her father and her uncle Ulises, who were on opposite sides in the 1973 military coup that brought General Pinochet to power in Chile. Through the revelation of family secrets, the recent history of Chile is exposed.


The wounds of one family remain after the death of the dictator. They are the same wounds that divide a country.

Can a 30-year-old rift be healed? Filmmaker Lorena Manriquez is torn between the story she was taught as a girl in Chile, and the truth she begins to unravel as a young woman in America. Her father is a former army officer and avid supporter of Pinochet. Her Uncle Ulises is a former union leader and leftist, who supported democratically elected President Allende.

Eight years old at the time of the coup, Lorena grows up believing that Pinochet is the great hero who had saved her country from Communism. As a young woman in the United States, Lorena begins to reestablish contact with her uncle who is still in exile in Switzerland. Through Ulises’ letters and the U.S. media, Lorena begins to learn about the brutality of the Pinochet regime, the human rights violations, and the instrumental role that the U.S. played in toppling a democratically elected president and installing a dictatorship. After 30 years of exile, Ulises returns to Chile. Family secrets are revealed. Lorena’s understanding of history and of her family is transformed.


This is a story of a major event in world history told from the perspective of ordinary people in one family, my family. What is particularly innovative about this story is that it reveals the conflicts within a society by examining those conflicts in the micro, when they appear in a single family. Chile's coup d'etat is unknown to many Americans. But its impact on a family -- the physical separation, the difficulty of finding the truth, and reconciling differences--is a universal story. By touching on the U.S.'s involvement in the coup, the story will heighten interest among all Americans, including the growing U.S. Latino community, many members of which emigrated from countries that have experienced similar U.S. interventions. Timeless, the story is also topical. The proper role of the U.S. in world affairs is an especially compelling issue today.


Lorena Manriquez - Director/Producer/Writer

Lorena Manríquez is an award-winning independent filmmaker and president of Andes Media, LLC. Her love of film began at an early age watching Spanish and French films in Santiago, Chile, where she was born and raised. Currently she is working on her new documentary, Siqueiros: Walls of Passion, and recently finished her first feature documentary, Ulises’ Odyssey (2013). She has been awarded several fellowships for her work, including the Latino Producers Academy by NALIP, the CPB/PBS Producers Academy at WGBH in Boston, the NBPC New Media Institute, and the IFP Rough Cut Lab. Her work has been chosen for several international media markets, including Sunny Side of the Doc, Latin Side of the Doc, IFP Film Week, and the Latino Media Market. Lorena was awarded a 2010 California Documentary Project grant by Cal Humanities (formerly the California Council for the Humanities), a 2012 ITVS Diversity Development Fund, a 2012 California Documentary Project Award for production by Cal Humanities, and a 2012 Latino Public Broadcasting Public Media Fund for Siqueiros: Walls of Passion. She is a co-producer of Miguel Picker’s new documentary Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype (2012).


Miguel Picker - Co-director/Editor/DP

 Miguel Picker, a New York-based Chilean American filmmaker, is an award-winning editor, director, and music composer with nearly three decades’ experience. He edited and composed music for Borinqueneers (2007), broadcast nationally on PBS in 2007. He also directed and edited Mickey Mouse Monopoly (2001), Beyond Good and Evil (2003), The Price of Pleasure (2008), Latinos Beyond Reel (2012), and Ulises’ Odyssey (2013). Before moving to New York City, Miguel worked as an editor at WGBH-TV in Boston beginning in the 1980s, and his editing credits include the series La Plaza, Greater Boston Arts, and a 52-part national series titled Destinos. At WGBH he also produced and directed several programs, including Como Hacemos, Dúo, and The Early Music Workshop. The award-winning programs he has edited include Anything for Dance (Golden Eagle Award, 2000); Orchestra of Dreams (Documentary Program Award, 2000; Emmy Award for best cultural affairs program, 1999); Doctors for Two Worlds (Golden Eagle Award, 1999); A Long Way to Love (Parents’ Choice Award Silver Honor, 1998); From Here and There (Emmy Award for best target audience program, 1996), The Making of Don Gato (Golden Eagle Award, 1996); Champs: The Strength of Survival (Golden Eagle Award, 1995); and Mercedes Sosa in Concert (Emmy Award for best entertainment programming, 1990).


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