These Latina Filmmakers are changing the rules of the game in an industry where the representation of women and Latinos is totally lacking. Beyond the trio of Oscar winners called the ‘Three Amigos del Cine’: Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro Iñarritú, there is not much more representation.
Although 2021 has seen the most diversity and recognition for women, it was only the second time in the history of the Academy Awards that a woman has taken home the award for Best Director (Chloe Zao – Nomadland). A study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California on the gender, race, and ethnicity gap among Hollywood directors from 2007 to 2021 showed that the total number of female directors during the 15-year study was only 5.4%.
While these numbers may seem hopeless, women filmmakers in the industry continue to fight every day and work to be recognized for their contribution to the beautiful art of filmmaking. These Latina filmmakers are a small sample of the creativity and tenacity that characterizes Latinos and are making their way in the industry and giving us more representation.
The filmmaker and producer was born in Venezuela and began her career as a photojournalist for various magazines in her native country. Torres’ film work is more focused on femininity and the nature of women, both in dramas and comedies. Her work includes ‘Woman on Top‘ (2000), a romantic comedy starring Oscar-nominated Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, and ‘Liz en Septiembre‘ (2013), a drama starring Venezuelan actress Patricia Velásquez.
Must watch: Liz en Septiembre, 2013 (Liz in September)
Born in Sinaloa, Mexico, Natalia Almada is a filmmaker and photographer specializing in documentaries. Her work is strongly connected to her heritage and focused on issues of politics, drug trafficking, and immigration. Almada is the first Latina filmmaker to win a MacArthur Fellowship in 2012, and her work on the film ‘El General‘ (2009) won her an award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Must watch: El Velador, 2011 (The Night Watchman)
Patricia Cardoso is a Colombo-American filmmaker, writer and producer, and member of the Directors Guild of America. Cardoso became the first Latina to win a Sundance Award and a Student Academy Award for her work on the short film ‘El Reino de Los Cielos’ (1995) and her film ‘Las Mujeres de Verdad Tienen Curvas’ (2002), starring actress America Ferrera, was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry as a “cinematic treasure.”
Must watch: Las Mujeres de Verdad Tienen Curvas, 2002. (Real Women Have Curves)
Aurora Guerrero is a queer Chicana filmmaker and writer from California who describes herself as an activist first and a filmmaker second. Her first full-length feature was ‘Mosquita y Mari’ (2012), which explores the friendship of two immigrant teenagers. This film won over ten awards and was shown in multiple festivals. Guerrero has also ventured into TV directing episodes for the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and Gentefied.
Must watch: Mosquita y Mari, 2012.