Living Altars

This film is available for the run of the festival starting the day of Thanksgiving 2021. To watch or to vote for this film please click on the orange “TICKETS” button below and purchase a ticket for BLOCK 13.  You also have the option to buy the Movie Buff Pass to watch all the films of the festival until December 15, 2021.


Living Altars is a remarkably intimate short film by directing duo Peggy Peralta and Lourdes Figueroa portraying wearable Day of the Dead altars of two artists, Marie-Astrid Do-Rodriguez and Eli Reyes in their Covid-19 era living installations. The visually stunning film depicts the artists wearing their altars, created with mixed folk arts media while narrating stories of family, grief and consolation.

Do-Rodriguez and Reyes, folk arts teachers at Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy in San Pablo, CA, could not create an in-person community altar because of Covid-19 restrictions. So the filmmakers were invited to create a film to convey their creative process and stories of loss, gratitude and healing.

Director Biography – Peggy Peralta

Born and raised in the Philippines, Peggy at age 23, migrated to San Francisco in pursuit of living a creative life. There she earned an MFA in Motion Pictures from the Academy of Art University, fell more deeply in love with cinema and discovered her love for flying cameras. She is now a certified Steadicam Operator, one of the very few women practitioners in the industry world-wide.

As a cinematographer, her work is distinct for its heart, energy and perspective. Every project she dives into becomes an opportunity to discover, create and inspire. She was awarded Best Emerging Filmmaker by SF International Women’s Film Festival in 2005. Since then, she has continued to be a trusted collaborator of many directors, shooting projects funded by organizations like San Francisco Film Society, Danish Arts Council and French National Center of Fine Arts. Her works have screened in film festivals around the globe including the Rotterdam International Film Festival & Busan International Film Festival among others. In 2013, she received a Cinematography Special Jury Award from the LA Asian Pacific Film Fest for lensing the documentary Harana. A New Color, her 2nd feature documentary, premiered at the 2015 Mill Valley Film Festival. Both feature documentaries won Audience Awards in various film festivals and have aired on PBS.

She is passionate about telling stories that amplify alternative voices. She believes in the power of cinema to not only entertain but to also challenge our ways of seeing, thinking and feeling. She continues to thrive as an artist in San Francisco, a city she’s proud to call her second home.

In 2019 she embarked on an indie feature called This Is Your Song, a cinematic feat that challenged her to light and shoot a 97-minute handheld oner.

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