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12 Latinx Directors You Should Know

Plus, their best films streaming now

spinner image director reinaldo marcus green on the set of king richard and director alejandra marquez abella on the set of a million miles away
Reinaldo Marcus Green (left) on the set of "King Richard" and Alejandra Márquez Abella on the set of "A Million Miles Away."
Chiabella James/Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection; Daniel Daza/Prime Video

While Latinx film talent remains seriously underrepresented on-screen, most people know Mexico’s Oscar-winning Three Amigos of Cinema: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma, Gravity), Alejandro Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant) and Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth). But there are more talented amigos where they came from and throughout Latin America — and plenty of them are, in fact, amigas. We’d like to highlight a dozen more directors you should know about, each with unique stories to tell about their Latin heritage. Think of them as the Oscar winners of the future! Put them on your watch list now.

spinner image director alejandra marquez abella poses for a portrait at the morelia film festival
Berenice Bautista/AP Photo

Alejandra Márquez Abella

Abella is a celebrated Mexican filmmaker with a storytelling focus on inspirational tales of resilience and representation. Determined to avoid stereotyping, she focuses on authentic portrayals of Mexicans and Mexican Americans overcoming obstacles. She has more than a decade of experience writing and directing television, including directing episodes of Netflix’s hit thriller series Narcos. Her critically acclaimed films include Las Niñas Bien (2018) and Semana Santa (2015) and Amazon Prime’s Northern Skies Over Empty Space. Her latest film, A Million Miles Away, follows the real-life story of NASA flight engineer José Hernández and his family of migrant farmworkers on a journey from rural Michoacán, Mexico, to the fields of the San Joaquin Valley, to more than 200 miles above the Earth in the International Space Station. The story of dedication and ambition is also a tribute to the tenacity of the entire Hernández family.

Alejandra Márquez Abella Must-Watch:

A Million Miles Away: Prime Video

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spinner image Director Peter Bratt poses for a photo during the Sundance Film Festival
Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

Peter Bratt

Bratt, 60, explores race, identity and culture, inspired by his Peruvian Quechua Indian ancestry. Bratt won the prestigious Norman Lear Writer’s Award for writing and directing the grittily atmospheric drama La Mission, in which his actor brother Benjamin Bratt plays a macho ex-con who discovers his beloved son is gay. The setting was San Francisco’s largely Latino Mission District, where the Bratt brothers grew up. His most recent film is his best known, 2017’s Dolores, the compelling, award-winning documentary about the overlooked contributions of 90-year-old sociopolitical activist and union organizer Dolores Huerta.

Peter Bratt Must-Watches:

Dolores: PBS

La Mission: Prime Video

spinner image director jayro bustamante at the premiere of el olvido que seremos forgotten we'll be
Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Jayro Bustamante

Bustamante’s 2015 Ixcanul was Guatemala’s foreign language Oscar entry, and his 2019 horror thriller La Llorona is a fascinating and chilling tale drawn from Latin American folklore that weaves in political commentary inspired by real-life Guatemalan leader Efraín Ríos Montt’s indictment for crimes against humanity. In the film, an aging former military dictator tried for atrocities against Guatemala’s Mayan people is plagued by strange and disturbing occurrences.

Jayro Bustamante Must-Watches:

La Llorona: Prime Video

Ixcanul: Prime Video

spinner image director fernando frias de la parra at the screening of the hbo series los espookys

Fernando Frías de la Parra

Frías de la Parra most recent film, I’m No Longer Here (2020), is a haunting exploration of identity, belonging and immigration that incorporates a version of music known as cumbia, which has been dubbed “the sound of resistance.” It played at film festivals around the world, won awards in Cairo and Mexico, and was chosen to represent Mexico for the Academy Awards’ best international feature film.

Fernando Frías de la Parra Must-Watch:

I’m No Longer Here: Netflix

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spinner image reinaldo marcus green on the red carpet at the 94th annual academy awards
David Livingston/Getty Images

Reinaldo Marcus Green

Green’s visually stylish Monsters and Men, about the aftermath of a police killing of an unarmed Black man, won the special jury award for outstanding first feature at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The Black Puerto Rican filmmaker’s 2021 King Richard won Will Smith a best actor Oscar. Kingsley Ben-Adir stars in Green’s 2024 biopic Bob Marley: One Love.

Reinaldo Marcus Green Must-Watch:

Monsters and Men: Hulu

spinner image Director Aurora Guerrero attends the BAFTA Student Film Awards
Rich Fury/Getty Images for BAFTA LA

Aurora Guerrero

Writer-director Guerrero’s first full-length feature, Mosquita y Mari, is a Chicana coming-of-age story that explores an affectionate friendship between a pair of 15-year-old girls growing up in immigrant households in L.A. It played at more than 100 film festivals, winning 10 awards. The New York Times called it “an unassuming indie jewel.” Guerrero, a queer-identifying Chicana from California, has also directed an episode of Queen Sugar, as well as two episodes apiece of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and Gentefied. Guerrero also assisted director Patricia Cardoso on Real Women Have Curves.

Aurora Guerrero Must-Watches:

Mosquita y Mari: Prime Video

Gentefied: Netflix

spinner image tatiana huezo at the 74th annual directors guild of america awards
Momodu Mansaray/WireImage

Tatiana Huezo

Salvadoran-Mexican director Huezo, 51, made the prizewinning documentaries El Lugar Más Pequeño (2011), about the Salvadoran Civil War, and Tempestad (2016), about human trafficking in Mexico. Her highly acclaimed 2021 Mexican drama Prayers for the Stolen depicts life in a Latin American town at war seen through the eyes of three young girls on the path to adolescence. Huezo won the new generation award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in 2021.

Tatiana Huezo Must-Watch:

Prayers for the Stolen: Apple TV

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spinner image Director Cristina Ibarra
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Cristina Ibarra

Ibarra’s 2019 The Infiltrators is a mesmerizing documentary in which several courageous young Dreamers turn themselves in to be sent to a federal detention facility and help their fellow undocumented immigrants from the inside. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Ibarra grew up in El Paso, Texas, and her 2014 documentary Las Marthas is about a tradition in which debutantes from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border commemorate George Washington’s birthday. She is currently working on Love & Monster Trucks, a feature about a Chicana artist who seeks to escape her family of truck-obsessed Texans.

Cristina Ibarra Must-Watches:

The Infiltrators: Prime Video

Las Marthas: PBS

spinner image director claudia llosa at the distancia de rescate fever dream photocall during the san sebastian film festival
Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Claudia Llosa

Her Oscar-nominated The Milk of Sorrow (2009) uses magical realism to explore Peru’s recent history of terrorism and violence against women. Her follow-up, Aloft (2014), follows a woman seeking help from a faith healer for her son and stars Jennifer Connelly and Cillian Murphy. Her most recent film, Fever Dream (2021), is a compelling and ominous psychological thriller that tells a haunting story of broken souls, motherhood and looming environmental and spiritual horrors.

Claudia Llosa Must-Watches:

Fever Dream: Netflix

Aloft: Prime Video

spinner image Director Gregory Nava
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NALIP

Gregory Nava

Veteran writer-director-producer Nava, 74, is a godfather figure to Latinx filmmakers. The Mexican American director’s visually stunning, Oscar-nominated film El Norte (1983) remains one of the best American films addressing the plight of undocumented immigrants. Nava’s 1995 Mi Familia tells the story of an immigrant Mexican couple and their children, and marked one of the earliest film appearances of a little-known actress named Jennifer Lopez, whom Nava later cast as the title character in 1997’s Selena, about the Tex-Mex singer Selena Quintanilla. Nava has been nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Writers Guild award, and his films have been honored at the Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and Telluride festivals.

Gregory Nava Must-Watches:

El Norte: Prime Video

Selena: Max, Prime Video

spinner image rodrigo reyes at the sanson and me premiere at the tribeca festival
Jason Mendez/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

Rodrigo Reyes

Mexican director and producer Reyes trains his lens on the poetry of the immigrant experience. His fictionalized 2020 documentary 499, about a ghostly conquistador, won major awards at the Tribeca, Sheffield DocFest and Hot Docs film festivals. He was inspired to make a film about Sansón, an immigrant serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. But because prison authorities would not allow the incarcerated young man to be filmed on camera, Reyes recounted the events of Sansón’s life through his letters and with performances by members of the imprisoned man’s family, as well as actors. The result, Sansón and Me, is a creative and fascinating documentary.

Rodrigo Reyes Must-Watches:

Sansón and Me: WORLD Channel

499: Apple TV

spinner image Director Patricia Riggen
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Patricia Riggen

The Guadalajara-born Riggen, 53, has directed films in both Spanish and English, including The 33, a fascinating 2015 biopic about the workers trapped underground for two months in a Chilean mine, starring Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro and Juliette Binoche. She also directed Under the Same Moon, a moving drama about a young Mexican boy who illegally travels to the U.S. to find his mother, starring Eugenio Derbez and Kate del Castillo.

Patricia Riggen Must-Watches:

Under the Same Moon: Prime Video, Hulu

The 33: Prime Video

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