'In the Heights’: How Cinematographer Alice Brooks Captured a Hollywood Musical on Location

Carlos Aguilar

June 11, 2021

Twenty years ago, while still students at the University of Southern California, cinematographer Alice Brooks and director Jon M. Chu worked on his thesis short film, “When the Kids Are Away,” a musical honoring motherhood that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003. That early partnership set the foundation for a creative affinity that has reached its greatest expression to date with “In the Heights,” Chu’s cinematic adaptation of the Latino-centered, Broadway hit penned by storytelling prodigies Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alagría Hudes.

Twenty years ago, while still students at the University of Southern California, cinematographer Alice Brooks and director Jon M. Chu worked on his thesis short film, “When the Kids Are Away,” a musical honoring motherhood that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003. That early partnership set the foundation for a creative affinity that has reached its greatest expression to date with “In the Heights,” Chu’s cinematic adaptation of the Latino-centered, Broadway hit penned by storytelling prodigies Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alagría Hudes.