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.
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
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:
La Mission: Prime Video
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