Natalia Almada was born in Mexico. Her directing credits include ALL WATER HAS A PERFECT MEMORY, an internationally recognized experimental short, AL OTRO LADO, an award-winning feature documentary about immigration and EL GENERAL, for which she was awarded the Sundance Documentary Directing Award in 2009. Almada's work has screened at Sundance, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Biennial as well as on ARTE and PBS.
She is a 2008 Guggenheim fellow and has received support from Creative Capital, the Sundance Institute, ITVS and the MacDowell Colony, among others. She shares her time between Mexico City and Brooklyn.
Gustavo Vazquez, originally from Tijuana and currently residing in San Francisco, is an independent filmmaker who has directed over thirty productions, including documentaries, video installations, and dramas. Gustavo Vazquez's research interest explores cross-cultural visual studies and video design. Vazquez's interest in border issues and identity has led to a series of independent and collaborative works. His experience of crossing borders has left an imprint offering a personal perspective and access to contemporary ethnographic projects. In many regards, his work reflects both a rooted foundation in negotiating polarity between cultures. In his work we find a conceptual fusion of the opposite realities in class, culture, language by integrating diverse elements to illustrate the marginal and dominant paradigms. His latest documentary Que Viva La Lucha delves into the world of Mexican masked wrestling. He is a co-author of Documentary Filmmaking: A Contemporary Field Guide, published by Oxford University Press in February 2009.
Vazquez is an associate professor in the Film and Digital Media Department at UC Santa Cruz. He is the recipient of several awards, including a Rockefeller Media Fellowship and a Eureka Visual Artist Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation.
Willie Varela has been making film in the independent, personal tradition since 1971. To date, Mr. Varela has completed 91 films ranging in length from 30 seconds to 104 minutes. In addition, Varela has completed 15 videotapes since 1991. Varela's image making practice also encompasses photography and visual/text pieces incorporating found imagery, photos, text, and graphics.
Mr. Varela's public exhibition career has spanned over twenty years, with one-man shows at such independent film showcases as the San Francisco Cinematheque, Los Angeles Film Forum, Chicago Filmmakers, Millennium Film Workshop, Rice University, Berks Filmmakers, the Boston Film/Video Foundation, Anthology Film Archives, Collective for Living Cinema, Pacific Film Archives, Austin Film Society, Guadalupe Central Arts Center, San Antonio, Donnell Media Center, and many others. Highlights of Varela's career include a Cineprobe at the Museum of Modern Art in 1988; videos in the 1993 and 1995 Whitney Biennials; and inclusion of 12 Super 8 films in the Big As Life: An American History of the 8mm Films, the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Varela was also the subject of a mid-career retrospective of his completed work in film and video at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the spring of 1994. This exhibition was organized by Chon Noriega. Mr. Varela's films and videotapes have also been shown on broadcast television outlets, including KQED in San Francisco, KUHT in Houston, KDET in Corpus Christi, and KWHY in Los Angeles. Varela's photographs and visual/text pieces have also been included in group shows at the Bridge Center for Contemporary Art in El Paso, Texas; the El Paso Museum of Art; the San Antonio Museum of Art; and the Jansen-Perez Gallery in San Antonio, Texas.
Mr. Varela has also been the recipient of film production grants from the Southwest Independent Production Fund, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the City of El Paso Arts Resources Department, and the New Forms Regional Initiatives Grant. Varela's films are available for rental and purchase from Canyon Cinema Cooperative, 2325 Third St. Suite 338, San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 626-2255. Currently, Mr. Varela is an Assistant Professor of Film Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Urquijo was given the breath of life in the San Fernando Valley, but gained the tools to speak of it in the halls of San Francisco State University where he earned a B.A. in cinema production and screenwriting. With a background in theater, music, photography, and creative writing, Urquijo found film and video as the artistic medium best suited for storytelling. Exposure to socially conscious, revolutionary filmmaking maestros like Ousmane, Pontecorvo and Gomez would eventually teach him to make stories that count.
The mid-1990s was a time marked with paranoia and anti-immigrant sentiment in California. Urquijo chose this period as the backdrop for his first film, Algún Día (Someday). In "Algún Día" the Gonzalez family strives to overcome xenophobic injustices running rabid through a neighborhood confused about the "immigrant problem". Over 100,000 people have now seen "Algún Día" as it has been screened on various television programs and film.
In 1999, Urquijo completed "Beca de Gilas: Rebeca's Story", a poignant film about family, faith, substance abuse, community building and self-determination. At the center of the marriage between a fragile but visionary father and deeply religious mother, we see Rebeca Armendáriz, a 21-year-old Xicano community activist, as she finds a career and life for herself. "Beca" won the Golden Gate Award for Best Bay Area Documentary from the San Francisco International Film Festival and honorable mention for the Grand Prize.
For more information about Pepe Urquijo:
Charley Trujillo was born in Hanford, California and was raised in Corcoran until he was 18 years old. His paternal grandparents emigrated from Silao Guanajuato, Mexico, to the United States in 1908. His maternal family has been in Texas before it became part of the U.S. in 1848. His father is a World War II veteran.
Two weeks after graduating from high school, Trujillo enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in Germany as an infantryman in 1969. From there he volunteered for Vietnam. He served there as a sergeant in the infantry, earning both a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal. He received his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and his M.A. from San Jose State University. He has taught college courses in ethnic and Chicano studies, and the Vietnam War, and is the publisher of Chusma House Publications, one of the country's few independent Chicano publishing houses. His book "Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam" won the 1991 American Book Award. He is also the author of the novel "Dogs from Illusion." He lives in San Jose, California.
Ela Troyano is an award winning Cuban born Latina director, writer and producer based in New York. She is currently producing a documentary on the legendary Cuban pop singer La Lupe to be released in 2002.
In 1998-1999 Troyano directed the network television series "Reyes y Rey" and "Angeles" produced by Stu Segall Productions for Telemundo / Sony. She also wrote and directed a critically acclaimed one hour documentary titled "Jovenes Urbanos del Siglo 21" for Spain's Canal Plus.
Her independent debut feature film, the Mexican telenovela inspired "Latin Boys Go To Hell" (Strand Releasing 1997) was released theatrically in the US, Canada, Europe Australia and Japan. Her award winning half hour films "Carmelita Tropicana" (1994) and "Once Upon A Time in the Bronx" (1994) were part of a one hour program featuring cutting edge performance art and spanglish rap for public television's Independent Television Service (ITVS).
Troyano attended the prestigious Latino screenwriting workshop at Sundance with Gabriel Garcia Marquez and playwriting workshops at INTAR with Maria Irene Fornes. She has collaborated with a variety of artists including directing Carmelita Tropicana Off Broadway, touring Europe with expanded cinema performances for John Zorn's recording label Tzadik and most recently with the performance group Coco Frio. Troyano has received numerous awards including a Creative Capital, Independent Television Service, Jerome Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, New York State Council on the Arts and a Rockefeller Fellowship among others.
Jesse Lerner is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and educator based in Los Angeles. His films include T.S.H. (2004), The American Egypt (2001), Magnavoz (2007), and Atomic Sublime (2010). He has curated projects for the Robert Flaherty Seminar, the Centro Fotográfico Manuel Alvarez Bravo in Oaxaca, and the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao. He is currently a professor of media studies at Pitzer College.
Rubén Ortiz-Torres is a Mexican-born artist, educator, and curator living and working in Los Angeles. His work spans a diverse range of media including and often combining photography, film and video, sculpture, and customized cars and machines. Ortiz-Torres is currently a professor of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego.
James Tartan (1931-2010) was a veteran filmmaker who played a pivotal role in documenting Chicano Los Angeles and also training early Chicano filmmakers in the 1970s.
Michael Stone is received an MFA from Columbia University film school. His short films include The Man Who Killed and Ate the Thing He Loved (2003), Dan and Dee Have a Lot in Common (2011), and A Helping Hand, co-directed with Todd Smith (2012). He currently supervises projects, including the Chicano Cinema and Media Art series, for the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.
Laura Aguilar: Life, the Body, Her Perspective (2009)
Ray Santisteban has produced and directed award winning documentaries that have aired in the U.S. and internationally on public television. He has explored subjects as diverse as a one hour documentary on New York Black Panther leader Dhoruba Bin Wahad - PASSIN' IT ON (1993 Student Academy Award winner, documentary category, Co-Producer) and explored the roots of Puerto Rican poetry in, NUYORICAN POETS CAFE (1994, Director, Producer, Editor). In 1996, he worked as an associate producer on the four part PBS series ¡CHICANO!: THE HISTORY OF THE MEXICAN AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. From 1998-2000 he was the director of the San Antonio CineFestival, the nation’s first film and video showcase of Chicano and Latino media. He is currently Directing "Voices From Texas" an hour documentary on poetry and spoken word traditions within the Mexican-American community in Texas and is the Senior Producer on "Visiones: Latino Arts in the United States" a three hour PBS documentary series coming to PBS in 2003.
Nuyorican Poet's Caf (1994)