My Neighbor, Miguel

In My Neighbor, Miguel, an exuberant 72 year-old gay artist named Miguel recalls his time in San Francisco during the AIDs epidemic and reflects on art, community and life after such an isolating, traumatic time that affected the entire world.

Director’s Vision

Miguel was my former landlord in San Francisco. Each month, I would see him hang beautiful art pieces outside of my living room window which faced the street for all to see. I fell in love with these pieces and became fascinated with their elusive maker who donned a thick Colombian accent and handlebar moustache.

Over time, Miguel and I became friends which is how I learned about the story behind his art and how delicately intertwined it was to his past.

My Neighbor, Miguel was shot on 16mm film and takes inspiration from the pacing of classic documentaries which attaches a “vintage” feel to a modern-day San Francisco. This helps us communicate that Miguel exists in a stark blend of the past and future, pain and hope. Using present-day and archival footage, we get a glimpse into the role Miguel’s intricate costumes and artwork have played; whether it was to attract a romantic partner or to fundraise for them after their death.

We made this film as a love letter to Miguel and to San Francisco. It’s a story about the strength of the human spirit and the importance of contributing to the community. Miguel, and the people that he represents, inspire and remind us that no matter how hard things get, the sparkle is always there.