Miguelito: A Song to Puerto Rico

(Miguelito: canto a Borinquen)
Sam Zubrycki | Documentary, Musical

2020 | 94 minutes | Colombia, Australia, Puerto Rico

Reminiscent of Searching for Sugar Man, the filmmaker follows the steps of Puerto Rico's child music sensation Miguelito. Featuring incredible archival footage of NYC in the 70s’ and salsa performances from Papo Lucca’s La Sonora Poncena, Malo Malo and many others, this is a film that celebrates the musical and cultural depth of the Caribbean.


In 1973, the eleven-year-old Miguelito was discovered singing in San Juan airport by the legendary New York record producer Harvey Averne. Within a year, he went from the slums of Manuel A. Pérez to recording an album with the finest salsa musicians of the time, to finally performing with Eddie Palmieri at Madison Square Garden in front of 20,000 people. Every radio station played some of his tracks, like Payaso and Canto a Borinquen. A year later, he had disappeared from public life.

Reminiscent of Searching for Sugar Man, filmmaker Sam Zubrycki and legendary music producer Harvey Averne follow Miguelito’s steps to find him. Featuring incredible archival footage of NYC in the 70s’ and salsa performances from Papo Lucca’s La Sonora Poncena, Malo Malo and many others, this is a film that celebrates the musical and cultural depth of the Caribbean, as well as the music industry, but most of all, Miguelito’s life, music, and the world he inhabited.

* Spanish language audio description is available via the ALL4ACCESS App and/or .wav file when purchasing a DSL license.

Accessibility for these films was created by DICAPTA and funded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education- Office of Special Education-OSEP, project “Enhanced Access to Video for Students with Sensory Disabilities through Emerging Technology,” TV Access H327C210001.


"Part portrait of a legendary child prodigy, part detective story, part family drama and always filled with layers of revelation and irony, Miguelito is an emotional cross-cultural journey from NYC to Puerto Rico to Colombia and back -- celebrating the joys of salsa music, and the hopes and dreams, but also the harsh realities, of life in the music industry." — Alan Berliner, Filmmaker

"An impressive debut...a heartfelt ode to music and culture, while also a cautionary tale about the music business and the significance of family." — Dov Kornits, Filmink

"Absolutely loved it, the subject matter is really fascinating." — Gilles Peterson

Main credits

Zubrycki, Sam (filmmaker)
Averne, Harvey (on-screen participant)

Other credits

Cinematography, Hanley Zheng [and 4 others]; editor, Sam Zubrycki & Rolando Olalia.

New York, music business, Palmieri, Madison Square Garden, Puerto Rico, Harvey Averne, Latin Music, childhood, boy, immigration, salsa, child artist, spanish, spanish language, latin america, latin american cinema, latin american film, ibero america, latin, latinx, latino, latina,,latinx, latin american, latino, latina, latin american people, hispanic, hispanic people, hispanic people, chicano, chicana, latine, latinx heritage, afro-latinx,music, tune, melody, hymn, harmony, popular music, rock music, latin music, latinx music, latino music, spanish music, modern music, folk music, soul music, ibero-american music, latin american music, celtic music, flamenco, spanish classical music, classical spanish music, musicals, film musicals, movie musicals, musical films, spanish pop, latin pop, latin pop music, spanish pop music,sociology, anthropology, psychology, sociological, sociological perspectives, conflict theory, human conflicts, sociological thinking,conflict perspective, topics in sociology, sociology topics, sociology studies, social studies, people and cultures, human relations, human relationships, cultural studies, culture studies ,caribbean studies, the caribbean, caribeean sea, caribbean island, antigua and barbuda, bahamas, barbados, cuba, dominica, dominican republic, grenada, haiti, jamaica, saint kitts and nevis, st lucia, st vincent and the grenadines, and trinidad and tobago, anguilla, aruba, british virgin islands, caribbean netherlands, bonaire, sint eustatius, saba, cayman islands, curaçao, guadeloupe, martinique, montserrat, puerto rico, saint barthélemy, saint martin/sint maarten, turks and caicos islands, us virgin islands,labor studies, employment studies, workers rights, workers’ rights, organizing, labor unions, trade unions, unions, industry, employment law, working class, labor rights, labor equity, employment, union organizing, labor organizing, labor rights movements, employment rights movements, workers’ rights movement, workers rights movements,migration studies, migrant studies, immigration studies, refugee studies, diaspora studies, resettlement studies, settlement studies, migration, migrant, immigration, refugee, diaspora, resettlement, settlement, refugees, international migration, continental migration, resettling, settlers, settler, migrant, migrant studies, first generation immigrant, first generation immigration, new americans, new spaniards,culture, identity, identity politics, culture wars, left wing, right wing, intersectionality, identity groups, civilization, literacy, humanism, cancel culture, online culture, cultural revolution, cultural diffusion, culture shock, popular culture, pop culture, material culture, cultural capital, cultural assimilation ,family, kin, fellowship, household, immediate family, extended family, multigenerational family, multigenerational household, kinfolk, family tree, genealogy, nuclear family, modern family, family tree,AS104,,"AU104; "Miguelito: A Song to Puerto Rico"; Pragda Films; north america,america,us,usa,united states,united states of america,us mexico and canada,map of north america,north american countries,states of north america,provinces of north america,countries of north america,continental america
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Antenna Documentary Film Festival - Best Australian Documentary
San Juan International Film Festival - Honorable Mention
Oaxaca Film Festival - Best Documentary
International Film Festival of Cartagena de Indias
Margaret Mead Documentary Film Festival
Raindance Film Festival

DIRECTOR: Sam Zubrycki

NATIONALITY: Colombia, Australia, Puerto Rico

YEAR: 2020

GENRE: Documentary, Musical

LANGUAGE: Spanish; English

COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adults



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