2012 Estela Award Winners
PATRICIA MARTINEZ DE VELASCO – NARRATIVE
Patricia Martínez de Velasco is an award-winning director of short films and documentaries, many of which have been invited to national and international film festivals. Her work includes Matilde Landeta, a documentary about the legendary Mexican filmmaker, and La Vaquita Marina (The Little Cow), about the endangered marine mammal filmed in its environment for the first time in history. La Vaquita Marina won first prize in the Third Biennial of Video, among other awards, and was shown in the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.
Patricia’s first feature film, Aquí entre Nos (Between Us), has won the Best Actor Award at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, Mexico; the Bronze Zénith Award for First Feature Film at the World Film Festival in Montreal, Canada; the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 37th Iberoamerican Film Festival in Huelva, Spain; the Best Screenplay Award by the Press Association of Huelva, and the Andalucía International University Award (UNIA) for the feature film that best addresses the social problematic in Latin-America. It was released in Mexico at the end of March.
Patricia is also an accomplished and award-winning commercial director. Her spot Dad took the Grand Prix at New York Festival, and Reality (about anorexia) has won numerous awards including a Gold Prize from AdAge magazine, a Gold Prize at the Addys, and won in the PSA category at the 15th annual AICP Show. This work is now included in the permanent collection of the Department of Film and Media in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
She is the author of the book Directoras De Cine: Proyección De Un Mundo Oscuro (Women Directors: Projection of a Dark World), published by IMCINE and CONEICC.
Patricia was born in Mexico City and graduated with honors from La Universidad Iberoamericana and el Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica where she studied film production.
ARI LUIS PALOS & EREN ISABEL MCGINNIS – DOCUMENTARY
Ari Luis Palos and Eren Isabel McGinnis of Dos Vatos Productions are filmmakers deeply influenced by Mexican traditions of storytelling, magical expressions of reality, and expanding from a direct, narrative path to one of limitless possibilities. Producing artistic and top quality programs for PBS for 16 years, their work “gives voice” to communities that are all too often subject to stereotyping by mainstream media.
Palos and McGinnis began working together in the green tobacco fields of Kentucky during the production of POV’s Tobacco Blues. While living in Oaxaca, México, they selected the work of virtuoso guitarist and chanteuse Lila Downs for the soundtrack of their Global Voices and True Stories PBS hit documentary, Beyond the Border/Más Allá de la Frontera.
Developing their continued interest in documenting civil rights battles, they recorded the voices of some of the finest opera singers in the world while creating The Spirituals. Their recent production of Precious Knowledge is screening at film festivals across the country and was recently awarded the best documentary at the CineFestival in San Antonio.
Palos is a director who has shot a number of films including The Beauty Salon, Impresario, The Kentucky Theatre, El Rio de los Perros/The River of the Dogs, Al Garete/Adrift, and Corazon del Plata/Heart of Silver.
McGinnis, a Fulbright scholar, is the co-founder of the feminist filmmaking company, Café Sister Productions, and has produced 19 movies including The Girl Next Door (shortlisted for an Oscar) and Dos Vatos-México.
Recently, Palos and McGinnis worked with veteran documentary filmmaker, Nigel Noble, on the 90th anniversary video for the American Friends Service Committee, covering the lively immigration rallies in San Diego. They have also created the “behind the scenes” EPK on the soon to be released independent feature Snappers, and are regular contributors to A & E’s “Biography” series.
JAVIER FUENTES LEON – NARRATIVE
Javier Fuentes-Leon is a director and writer. Currently, Javier is developing three projects: The Woman Who Feared the Sun (based on his play Mr. Clouds), which recently garnered much interest from international production companies at the 2011 Berlinale co-production market; Pearblossom Highway, a psychological thriller inspired by David Hockney’s photo-collage of the same name and by Julio Cortázar’s short story “The Continuity of the Parks”; and Sinister, a rock musical set in a restrictive society of the near future, which Javier is also writing the music.
Javier’s second short, Gemini, premiered at Outfest in 2004 and screened at various international film festivals.
The screenplay for his first feature, Contracorriente (Undertow), won several prizes world-wide in venues such as the 2004 La Habana Film Festival and the 2005 Berlinale. A co-production between Peru, Colombia, France and Germany, Contracorriente premiered at the 2009 San Sebastian Film Festival where it received the Sebastiane Award for best film with LGBT content, and since then has won over 40 awards in film festivals around the world, including Audience Awards at Sundance, Cartagena, Montreal, Miami, Chicago, Utrecht, Lima and Galway, as well as Jury Awards in Madrid, San Francisco, Seattle, Toulouse and Philadelphia. Contracorriente was also chosen as Peru’s official submission for the 2011 Academy Awards and received a nomination as Best Latin American Film at the 2011 Goya Awards in Spain.
Javier was also lead writer for two law-enforcement reality TV shows at Telemundo Network, subtitled films from major Hollywood studios into Spanish, and edited various commercials and TV shows, including “Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels.”
Although he graduated from medical school in Peru, Javier moved to Los Angeles in 1994 to pursue a M.F.A. in film directing at the California Institute of the Arts. His thesis film, Rooms, won the National Award for Short Films from the Peruvian government in 1997. In 2000, the National Theater of Peru considered his play Mr. Clouds among the best of the year and published it in the compilation “Dramaturgia Nacional 2000.”
FRANCISCO BELLO – DOCUMENTARY
Francisco Bello is an Oscar® and Emmy Nominated filmmaker and founder of Ropa Vieja Films.
He started his career working on films by Francis Ford Coppola, Kevin Smith, Michael Moore and George Butler, among others. His early editorial work includes Summer Sun Winter Moon (ITVS), Neither Memory nor Magic (MoMA Documentary Fortnight), Betty la Flaca (HBO), and Julieta y Ramon (Showtime).
Francisco launched Ropa Vieja Films in 2007 with Salim Baba, which he produced and shot in 4 days on location in Kolkata, India. Francisco was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Short Documentary in 2008 and a News and Documentary Emmy in 2009 for this film, which was acquired by HBO, Canal Plus, EBS (Korea), and Amazon VOD. Salim Baba has screened in over 75 festivals worldwide including Sundance, Telluride, IDFA, and Tribeca.
Most recently, he produced and edited War Don Don. It won the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, the first Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing, and was acquired by HBO. He also recently completed his directorial debut commissioned by HBO Documentary Films, The Spirit of Salsa, which premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.
Francisco has reunited with the creative team of Salim Baba, co-directing a new film about the artist Mu Xin, which wrapped photography in China. He is also in post-production on a film about medical marijuana in Montana with War Don Don director Rebecca Richman Cohen.
Francisco has been awarded fellowships from the PBS/WGBH Producer’s Academy, the NALIP Producer’s Academy, and Tribeca All Access. He has mentored filmmakers for NALIP’s Latino Producer’s Academy, Cinereach’s Reach Film Fellowship, and has taught post-production at the Cooper Union School of Art.
PETER BRATT – NARRATIVE
Peter Bratt is a filmmaker whose first film, Follow Me Home, premiered at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and looked at the social issues faced by five urban individuals as they traveled across the United States to Washington, D.C. Its exploration of the journey to redemption and the ultimate reach toward conquering societal ills is a thematic echo further examined in his sophomore effort, La Mission. La Mission premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and will be released in theaters nationally this coming spring. It is the first film from 5 Stick Films, Inc., which Peter co-founded alongside his brother Benjamin Bratt and their producing partner Alpita Patel.
Critically acclaimed by the National Board of Review, Follow Me Home left a long-lasting impression on the cultural scholars of our nation, including novelist Alice Walker and Angela Davis. In 2000, Peter was honored with a Rockefeller Foundation Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowship, through which he penned an as yet un-produced screenplay, Four Marys.
Peter envisions using 5 Stick as a vehicle to help young filmmakers of color get their projects off the ground. He is a San Francisco Film Commissioner and works with several non-profits that “educate, empower and employ’” inner-city youth in media arts. Recently, he was selected to be the 2010 screenwriter of Washington State’s Native Lens to encourage young Native American filmmakers.
Peter and his family have a long history of activism in the Bay Area’s Native American community. His mother, an Indigenous woman from Peru, was part of the 1969 Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island and the 1973 Wounded Knee stand off. He regularly contracts with the Friendship House Association of American Indians, serves on the advisory board of Amazon Watch, and is a founding member of Wicahpi Koyaka Tiospaye (‘Wears the Star Lodge’), a non-profit established to nurture, cultivate and reinforce Native American spiritual values and traditions in Indian communities.
NICOLAS ENTEL – DOCUMENTARY
Nicolas Entel is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker whose latest documentary, Sins of My Father, had its North American premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film’s U.S. rights have been acquired by HBO, and it is now being released in theaters in over half a dozen countries at record box office numbers for a Spanish-language documentary. It is being broadcast on television by, among others, Discovery Channel (Latin America), Canal Plus (Spain), Channel 4 (United Kingdom) and Arte (France and Germany). The Hollywood Reporter has called Sins of My Father “a masterwork.”
Previously, Nicolas directed the multiple award-winning documentary film Orquesta Típica. He is also the founder of Red Creek Productions, which has offices in New York, Buenos Aires and San Jose de Costa Rica. Red Creek, which he runs with his brother Ivan, is one the largest Latino-owned production companies in the U.S., and has produced hundreds of television spots for such clients as Nike, Honda, Nissan and Motorola, as well as music videos for such artists as Wyclef Jean and KT Tunstan.
Nicolas has also written articles for such publications as America’s Quarterly (United States), La Nación and Haciendo Cine (Argentina). His work has been written about in such publications as Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. He has received grants and awards from such organizations as INCAA, the MPAA, the Sundance Institute and the Jan Vrijman Fund. He was a NALIP LWL Fellow.
CRUZ ANGELES – NARRATIVE
Cruz Angeles, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, made his feature film directorial debut at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival with DON’T LET ME DROWN. Cruz participated as a directing and writing fellow at the 2005 Sundance Institute Filmmaker’s Lab and was a recipient of the 2006 NHK/Sundance International Filmmakers Award. Along with being an Annenberg Film Fellow, as an alumna of NYU’s graduate film program, Cruz garnered various awards including a Director’s Guild of America Award.
HUGO PEREZ – DOCUMENTARY
Hugo Perez is the producer and director of the feature documentary “NEITHER MEMORY NOR MAGIC” which is narrated by the Academy-Award Nominated® Patricia Clarkson. Perez is also the producer and director of the ITVS funded documentary “SUMMER SUN WINTER MOON.” In 2008, Hugo was a recipient of the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation/Tribeca Film Institute Emerging Artist Fellowship in support of development of his first narrative feature IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. His short film BETTY LA FLACA was the winner of the 2006 HBO/NYILFF Short Film Award. Hugo previous short film “JULIETA Y RAMON” was broadcast as part of the 2005 Showtime Latino Filmmaker Showcase.
PATRICIA RIGGEN – NARRATIVE
Patricia Riggen is the director of LA MISMA LUNA. Her first short film, LA MILPA, screened in over 30 international film festivals and received 20 awards, among them the Student Academy Award and the Mexican Academy Award for Best Short Film. FAMILY PORTRAIT, Patricia’s next short film, also screened at many festivals collecting several awards, among them the Jury’s Prize for Best Short Film at Sundance ’05. Patricia began her film career as a writer for a television documentary series. She later worked as a Creative Executive for the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE) where she produced short films, commercials and documentaries. She is a recipient of the National Fund for the Arts and Culture in Mexico, and holds a master’s degree in Film Direction from Columbia University. Her first feature film, LA MISMA LUNA (UNDER THE SAME MOON), was acquired by Fox Searchlight and The Weinstein Co. and was released in March 2008 as the most successful Spanish-language release in the U.S.
ALMUDENA CARRACEDO – DOCUMENTARY
Almudena Carracedo is director, producer, cinematographer, co-editor and co-writer of the documentary MADE IN L.A. The film received a strong critical response and was called “An excellent documentary… about basic human dignity” by The New York Times. It has screened at numerous festivals including the Los Angeles Film Festival, Silverdocs, Morelia International Film Festival and La Havana International Film Festival, winning a Special Mention of the Jury at the Valladolid International Film Festival in Spain, the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media (Council on Foundations), and a nomination for the International Documentary Association’s annual Pare Lorentz Award. MADE IN L.A. was funded by ITVS, POV and the Sundance Institute, Documentary Fund and had its U.S. broadcast premiere on PBS’ POV series in a special Labor Day broadcast. In October 2008, Almudena won an Emmy for her film.
JUDY HECHT DUMONTET – NARRATIVE
Judy is the writer, director, and a producer of the film TORTILLA HEAVEN. Archangel Entertainment released the film in March 2007. She is a past winner of the Directors’ Guild Award for most outstanding new Latino filmmaker. Her student-produced short film THE NOVICE/LA NOVICIA premiered at Sundance and went on to win awards and accolades throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.
NATALIA ALMADA – DOCUMENTARY
Natalia’s debut feature-length documentary AL OTRO LADO is about immigration, drug trafficking and Corrido music. It was nationally broadcast on PBS’ P.O.V. in August 2006 and had a special week-long engagement at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in March 2006. AL OTRO LADO was an official selection at various film festivals including The Los Angeles Film Festival, The New York Latino International Film Festival (Kodak Cultural Award), and The Puerto Rico International Film Festival (Best Documentary). Natalia’s new film EL GENERAL was developed while she was on a prestigious Rockefeller Fellowship, received funding support from the Sundance Documentary Fund, and will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009.
MARILYN AGRELO – DOCUMENTARY
MAD HOT BALLROOM proved to be the perfect vehicle for Marilyn. The documentary was her directorial debut. With over 15 years of experience in the world of filmmaking and production, she jumped at the chance to create this critically acclaimed film that would be a love poem to New York. Born in Cuba, Marilyn came to the U.S. at the age of 2. Growing up in New York, she explored different cultures, which contributed to her work as a filmmaker today.
RODRIGO GARCIA – NARRATIVE
Rodrigo was born in Colombia and raised in Mexico City. He has been credited as a cinematographer, writer, and director. He photographed DANZON, MI VIDA LOCA, and the television movie, GIA. He wrote a screenplay for Miramax Pictures, and directed several episodes of the HBO series, “Six Feet Under” as well as the pilots of “Carnivale” and “Big Love.” In 2005, he premiered NINE LIVES. It was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards.