New York-based Cinema Tropical is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media arts organization that has become the leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the United States.  Founded in 2001 with the mission of distributing, programming and promoting what was to become the biggest boom of Latin American cinema in decades, Cinema Tropical brought U.S. audiences some of the first screenings of films such as Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También.

Through a diversity of programs and initiatives, Cinema Tropical is thriving as a dynamic and groundbreaking organization experimenting in the creation of better and more effective strategies for the distribution and exhibition of foreign cinema in this country.

In 2011, in occasion of the organization's tenth anniversary, The Museum of Modern Art paid tribute to the work of Cinema Tropical with the special series ‘In Focus: Cinema Tropical.’



Cinema Tropical—the brainchild of Carlos A Gutiérrez and Monika Wagenberg—was officially launched on February 19, 2001,  with a special screening of the Argentinean film Silvia Prieto by Martín Rejtman at the (now-extinct) Two Boots Pioneer Theater in New York City’s East Village with the attendance of the Argentine filmmaker.

Shortly after, the organization held a special sneak preview of the Mexican film Amores Perros with director Alejandro González Iñárritu and actor Gael García Bernal in attendance followed by a reception at Café Frida. Few weeks later, Cinema Tropical got a start as a cineclub organizing film series with weekly screenings at the Pioneer Theater.

The Cinema Tropical Series showed retrospectives on directors such as Carlos Diegues and Leonardo Favio, and in conjunction with the Guggenheim Museum organized the series “Acción! Mexican Cinema Now,” which featured a sneak preview of Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También.

Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2002, the organization soon expanded to create a non-theatrical circuit that would also held regular screenings in 13 of the most important cinemathèques around North America including Facets Cinémathèque in Chicago, the NW Film Center in Portland and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.

It was in 2003, that Cinema Tropical launched Israel Adrián Caetano's film Bolivia as its first theatrical release at Film Forum, and to date the organization has done 23 theatrical releases, more than any other film distributor in the country.

Since its creation, Cinema Tropical has produced numerous projects including “Cine Móvil,” a traveling open-air film festival; ‘David Bowie Presents 10 Latin American & Spanish Films from the Last 100 Years’ film series, in association with the H&M High Line Festival; and ‘Cinema Chile’ at the Quad Cinema, in partnership with ProChile.

We are proud to have built a dedicated audience for Latin American cinema in the U.S., and for having served as a platform for the distribution and exhibition for the talent of the region. 


Carlos A. Gutiérrez, Co-founder and Executive Director

Carlos A. Gutiérrez is a film/video programmer, cultural promoter and arts consultant based in New York City. As a guest curator, he has presented several film/video series at different cultural institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Film at Lincoln Center, and BAMcinématek. Along with Mahen Bonetti, he curated the 53rd edition of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. He serves in the board of directors of Film Forum, is a contributing editor to BOMB Magazine, and has served as a member of the jury and the selection committees for various international film festivals including Morelia, Seattle, Margaret Mead, SANFIC, and DocsDF, among others. He has served as both expert nominator and panelist for the Rockefeller Fellowship Program for Mexican Film & Media Arts and for The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, as well as a screening panelist for the Oscars' Academy Awards for film students. He holds MA in Cinema Studies from New York University and a BA in Communications from Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico City).


Mary Jane Marcasiano, Director of Development and Special Projects

Mary Jane Marcasiano is the president of her eponymous design company in New York City and actively involved in the arts and non-profit community in NY, Brazil and West Africa.  She is a graduate of Parsons School of Design/The New School and the recipient of the Cartier, DuPont, Cutty Sark and Wool Knit Awards. Marcasiano has designed costumes for DanceBrazil, the New York City Ballet, the Brazilian films: Até Quando (2008), Reaching for the Moon (2013), and for Grammy award winning singer Angelique Kidjo. Marcasiano has produced several films in Brazil: Ginga (Gustavo Moraes, 2004), Reaching for the Moon" (Bruno Barreto), Alair Gomes (Gustavo Moraes, in development), and in the U.S. a documentary film, Jack Lenor Larsen (2016) with CheckerBoard Films. For three years she served as the President of the Board of Directors of DanceBrazil, a non-profit foundation dedicated to cultural exchange between Brazil and the U.S. She is the programmer for Cinema Tropical’s Music+Film series and founder of their Brazilian film initiative Janeiro in New York. In 2007 Marcasiano created the Made With Love Project, a non-profit global initiative dedicated to raising funds and awareness for NGOs aiding women and children in need in Brazil, Africa and Haiti.


Pilar Dirickson Garrett, Assistant Director

Pilar Dirickson Garrett is a graduate of New York University, holding a joint Master’s of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a concentration in Museum Studies. Her academic work focuses specifically on postcolonial histories and politics of race in Brazil as manifested and perpetuated by the Brazilian State through art, film, and museum exhibition over the course of the twentieth century. During her time at NYU, Dirickson Garrett served as a fellow of the Graduate School of Arts and Science and as a Graduate Associate of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Before relocating to New York City, she worked as Curatorial Assistant in the Department of African and South American Arts and Cultures at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, BC and served on the panel of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Dirickson Garrett holds a Bachelor of Arts in honors History from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC) and continues to consult for the Center for Latin America and Caribbean Studies at New York University.


Mara Behrens, Art Director

Mara Behrens is a Silicon Valley creative director with more than 15 years of global experience who is passionate about combining effective brand integration with seamless user experience and design. She has directed market strategy, shaped brand identity, and provided innovative user-centric experiences across multiple platforms for a diverse array of clients. She is a keen believer in using metrics and building sustainable processes in her work, a result of professional and holistic experiences with diverse cultures in countries ranging from Venezuela and France to Mexico and the United States.

Santiago Balmaceda Jones, Intern

Santiago Balmaceda Jones is a senior at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a major in Film and Television Production. Originally from Mexico City, Santiago’s filmmaking focuses on issues of class and coming of age in underrepresented regions of Mexico. His most recent short documentary followed the effects of the 2017 earthquakes on Oaxaca’s educational system and the ways in which these events impacted the city's community. He is currently working on a short film that explores the dynamics of a father-son relationship.

Maite Gonzalez, Intern

Maite Gonzalez is a recent graduate of CUNY’s Hunter College with a degree in Emerging Media. She is currently working on an episodic documentary about seniors living with depression in New York City. Maite's filmmaking focuses predominantly on issues surrounding marginalized groups, specifically on themes related to Latinx and LGBTQ+ identity and class. Maite intends to pursue a master's degree in media management and digital communications.




Monika Wagenberg
Co-founder, Cinema Tropical

Josh Siegel — Secretary
Curator, The Museum of Modern Art

Fernando Ramirez
Entertainment Lawyer

Vilma Vale-Brennan
Communications Executive

Debra Zimmerman — Chairperson
Executive Director, Women Make Movies

Warren James — Treasurer

Carlos A. Gutiérrez — Ex Officio
Cinema Tropical


Cinema Tropical's programs are made possible with the support of the New York State Council on the Arts
with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.