Conversations with Latin American filmmakers


Presented in partnership with


Video and audio interviews



Designed with the goal of fomenting critical dialogue while serving as both an educational and promotional tool, the TropiChat series is a ground-breaking multi-platform project that combines interactive public events with traditional television programming and innovative web content.

The first component of the TropiChat series are the public events, presented in collaboration with some of New York's finest cultural institutions, they feature informal conversations between Latin American filmmakers covering a broad range of topics—from the work of a particular director to pressing issues facing the industry—while encouraging audience participation and interaction.

To date, Cinema Tropical has worked in collaboration with the New Museum, the Americas Society, the King Juan Carlos I Center at New York University, and The Museum of Modern Art, assuring access to a diverse audience and allowing increased exposure for both the participants and collaborating institutions.

Each TropiChat event features a renowned Latin American filmmakers working at the vanguard of national industries in the region. So far we've presented Argentinean directors Martín Rejtman (The Magic Gloves) and Daniel Burman (The Empty Nest), Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke (Lake Tahoe) as well as Brazilian director Bruno Barreto (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) and documentary master Eduardo Coutinho (Edifício Master).

In an effort to foster cross-cultural dialogue and deepen the connections between the Anglo- and Latin American industries, recent TropiChats have also featured North American directors such as Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue; Married Life) and film scholars such as Gavin Smith, editor of Film Comment.



TropiChat: Latin-o-American

Presented as part of the 14th edition of the Havana Film Festival in New York

Monday, April 15, 2013, 8pm
Instituto Cervantes

211 East 49th Street, New York City
/ (212) 308-7720

A special edition of the TropiChat series featuring four accomplished Latino filmmakers living in New York City. The discussion, moderated by Cinema Tropical's Carlos A. Gutiérrez, will focus on the opportunities and limitations for Latino artists in the U.S. and in Latin America. 



Roberto Busó-García was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He has written, directed and produced six short films, a dramatic mini-series and two feature-length films for more than 18 years. He has served as a member of the jury of the Colombia and Puerto Rico Film Funds, the New York International Latino Film Festival, the American Black Film Festival and the Puerto Rico International Film Festival. In 2012 he premiered his debut feature Los condenados / The Condemned, which had a theatrical run in Puerto Rico and more recently in New York and Los Angeles, distributed by Strand Releasing. He worked as a film acquisitions executive in New York and was responsible for bringing award-winning Spanish-language shows like "Epitafios" to US audiences through HBO.


Paola Mendoza, was named one of Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She was most recently tapped to write and direct the film Half of Her for ITVS. She also helmed the documentary La Toma, which was commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Tribeca Film Institute. Mendoza made her narrative directorial debut with Entre Nos, which had its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival where it was awarded Honorable Mention and it went on to win over ten awards at film festivals around the world. Mendoza also directed the feature length documentary Autumn's Eyes, which made its world premier at the SXSW Film Festival. Mendoza most recently finished writing her debut novel entitled The Ones Who Don't Stay which will be published by Penguin Books in the Spring of 2013.

Bernardo Ruiz was born in Mexico, but grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He studied documentary photography with Joel Sternfeld at Sarah Lawrence College. For the past decade has worked as a journeyman director/producer for a variety of media outlets, including PBS, National Geographic, Planet Green and MTV, among others. In 2007, he founded Quiet Pictures in order to make independent documentaries. His debut film through Quiet was a commission, American Experience: Roberto Clemente (PBS, 2008) winner of the Alma Award for Outstanding Made for Television Documentary. Reportero is Ruiz's first documentary feature. 


Argentine-born, New York-based writer, director and producer Julia Solomonoff holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University (where she currently teaches Film Directing). Hermanas, her debut feature film, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005. Her most recent feature film is El último verano de la boyita / The Last Summer of La Boyita. She also has written and directed five short films—which have earned her prestigious awards from the DGA and FIPRESCI. In addition to her own work, she has collaborated with such well-regarded directors as Luis Puenzo, Carlos Sorín, and Martin Rejtman, and worked as First Assistant Director on Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries. Also the producer of numerous documentaries in Latin America, such as Alejandro Landes' Cocalero, Julia co-produced Brazilian director Julia Murat’s debut film Found Memories.





TropiChat: Film as Social Change, the Case of Rio's Favelas

Presented in partnership with VOCES, Latino Heritage Network of the New York Times Company
Sponsored by Ketel One Vodka. Media Sponsor: BrazilNYC
Presented as part of Premiere Brazil! 2012 organized by the Museum of Modern Art and the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival.

The New York Times 15th Floor Conference Center
16, 2012


As part of the 10th anniversary of Premiere Brazil! organized by The Museum of Modern Art and the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, Cinema Tropical and VOCES, the Latino Heritage Network of The New York Times Company, present a special roundtable with the directors of 5 x Favela: Now by Ourselves and 5 x Pacificação (Peace), and special guests.

The directors, all of them active members of their communities who have been involved in different stages with social operations in their favelas: Cidade de Deus, Complexo do Alemão, Vidigal and Vigario Geral, will be discussing and debating the recent operation of UPP (Pacifying Police Units), a new concept elaborated and implemented by José Mariano Beltrame, the Secretary of Security for the State of Rio de Janeiro. It is a major operation carefully orchestrated so that each favela would be rid of drug dealers and have installed a new police unit, capable of connecting and be closer to the favela citizens.

This was an operation being held over the last year and a half which made news all over the world. It is meant to change the image of Rio, as well as the conditions of life and security in the city at large, also offering the communities the possibility of integration and empowerment.

Panelists: Carlos Diegues, producer; Luciano Vidigal, filmmaker; Rodrigo Felha, filmmaker; José Beltrame, Security Secretary, State of Rio de Janeiro. Moderator: Larry Rohter, The New York Times






TropiChat: Pedro González-Rubio

Presented in partnership with King Juan Carlos I Center at NYU and Reverse Shot

King Juan Carlos I Center at NYU
May 12, 2011


TropiChat presents a talk with Mexican filmmaker Pedro González-Rubio (Toro Negro, co-director; Alamar) interviewed by film journalist and curator Damon Smith. They discuss González-Rubio filmography, as well as the opportunities and challenges in filmmaking, within the context of the resurgence of Latin American cinema.

Presented as part of the film series 'In Focus: Cinema Tropical' (May 5 –16), organized by The Museum of Modern Art.

Pedro González-Rubio is a Mexican filmmaker born in Brussels. His initiation to visual arts came at the age of 16 while living in New Delhi. He studied media in Mexico before attending the London Film School. He worked as a cinematographer on the film Nacido sin (Born Without, 2007) by Eva Norvind. His directorial debut, Toro Negro (2005, co-director), received several awards including the Horizontes Award for Best Latin American film from the San Sebastian Film Festival and the Best Documentary Award at the Morelia Film Festival. Alamar is his feature film debut, which nonetheless remains true to real life. The film has won numerous awards including the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival, The Jury Award for Best Iberoamerican Film at the Miami Film Festival and the Best Film Prize at the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival.

Damon Smith is a New York-based film journalist and curator. He has written features, profiles, and reviews for Time Out New York, The Boston Globe, Reverse Shot, Senses of Cinema, Bright Lights Film Journal, The Boston Phoenix, Cinema Scope, and many other publications. Currently the Head of Curation/Story R&D at Thought Engine Media Group, he is also a biweekly columnist at Filmmaker Magazine, co-producer of the Reverse Shot Talkies/Direct Address video-interview series, and the editor, most recently, of Michael Winterbottom: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi, 2010)



Additional support provided by The Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative and the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York. Special thanks to Laura Turégano and Sumie García.




TropiChat: Lourdes Portillo and Natalia Almada

Presented in partnership with the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP)

NALIP Conference
13, 2011

Few weeks ago filmmakers Lourdes Portillo and Natalia Almada joined for a public conversation as part of the 12th edition of the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), that took place in Newport Beach, California. The conversation was titled as"Identity & Aesthetics: Creative Choices Based on Cultural Background" with the aim at looking at how one's culture affects an artist's point of view and vision. The discussion was centered on the effects of culture, and how one express oneself through one's media work.

The occasion was a great opportunity for both groundbreaking filmmakers to share perspectives and opinions. The conversation was moderated by Carlos A. Gutiérrez, co-founding director of Cinema Tropical.

Click here to hear the podcast.





TropiChat: Patricio Guzmán

Presented in partnership with Americas Society

Americas Society
March 17, 2011



Legendary Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán engages in a conversation with Gabriela Rangel (Director of Visual Arts, Americas Society) and Carlos A. Gutiérrez (Co-Founder and Director, Cinema Tropical) on the subject of Guzmán's documentary practice and his most recent film Nostalgia for the Light, winner of the prize as Best Documentary at the European Film Academy Award.

Patricio Guzmán was born in Santiago, Chile. He studied documentary filmmaking while attending the Official Cinematography School in Madrid. Guzmán is renowned for his long and impressive career as a documentary filmmaker, most notably for his film La batalla de Chile, a four and 1/2 hour documentary on the end of Salvador Allende's government. The film was nominated by Cineaste magazine as "one of the ten best political films in the world." Guzmán is founder and director of the International Documentary Festival of Santiago (FIDOCS). He also currently teaches documentary film classes in Europe and Latin America. For more information on Patricio Guzmán click here.

Nostalgia for the Light. For his new film Guzmán travels 10,000 feet above sea level to the driest desert on earth for this remarkable documentary. Here, the sky is so translucent that it allows astronomers to see the boundaries of our universe. Yet the Atacama Desert climate also keeps human remains intact: pre-Columbian mummies; explorers and miners; and the remains of disappeared political prisoners. Women sift the desert soil for the bones of their loved ones, while archaeologists uncover traces of ancient civilizations and astronomers examine the most distant and oldest galaxies. Melding celestial and earthly quests, Nostalgia for the Light is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey. For more information on the film click here.

Special thanks to Icarus Films, Jonathan Miller, Livia Bloom, and Sumie García.




TropiChat: Sebastián Silva interviewed by Dennis Lim

Presented in partnership with VOCES, Latino Heritage Network of the New York Times Company


The New York Times, 15th Floor Conference Center
October 14, 2010



Sebastián Silva (born in Santiago Chile in 1979) is a multifaceted artist whose body of work includes painting, illustration and popular music. After graduating from Catholic school in Santiago, Silva studied filmmaking at the Escuela de Cine de Chile for a year before leaving to study animation in Montreal. While eking out a living selling shoes, Silva mounted the first gallery exhibition of his illustrations and started his band CHC who have since gone on to record three albums. Silva's second illustration show brought him in contact with Hollywood but a frustrating period in Los Angeles spent pitching to Steven Spielberg and others netted no tangible results. Fleeing Hollywood, Silva initiated two more musical projects, "Yaia" and "Los Mono", both picked up for distribution by Sonic360 and released in the US and the UK, and exhibited his art work in New York while writing the script for what would become his first feature La Vida me mata. Back in Chile, Silva recorded a solo album and directed La Vida me mata. Released in 2007, the film was a critical success, garnering multiple awards including Best Film from the Chilean Critics Circle. Setting aside a script based on his disastrous trip to Hollywood, Silva wrote and directed La nana / The Maid in February of 2008. His second feature film won numerous prizes internationally including the 2009 Sundance Film Festival's World Cinema Jury Prize Dramatic and World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Acting, and was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Foreign Language Film. His new film Gatos viejos / Old Cats (co-directed with Pedro Peirano) just had its World premiere in the 48th edition of the New York Film Festival.

Dennis Lim is a New York based critic and editor. He is the founding editor of Moving Image Source, the online publication and research resource of the Museum of the Moving Image. He writes regularly for The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, and was a film critic at The Village Voice from 1998 to 2006, as well as its film editor from 2000 to 2006. He is also the editor of The Village Voice Film Guide (Wiley, 2006). A member of the National Society of Film Critics, he is currently a member of the New York Film Festival selection committee and he teaches in the Cultural Reporting and Criticism graduate program at New York University.




TropiChat: Latin-O-American with Natalia Almada, Alex Rivera and Cruz Ángeles

Presented in partnership with NALIP-NY.

Presented as part of Latinbeat 09 organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center
September 10, 2009



Natalia Almada owns Altamura Films, an independent documentary film production company, and is a freelance documentary film editor. She has been a Fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts and of the MacDowell Colony. Her work has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital and the Sundance Institute. A native of Mexico who spent her childhood on both sides of the border, Almada received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She lives and works in both Mexico City and Brooklyn, New York.

Cruz Ángeles was born in Mexico City and raised in South Central Los Angeles. His feature film directorial debut, Don't Let Me Drown, premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival in competition for the Grand Jury Prize and garnered enthusiastic reviews. The film won the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Lee Marvin Best Feature Narrative Award and the James Lyons Award for Best Editing at the Woodstock Film Festival. Cruz was recently nominated for a Gotham Award in the Breakthrough Director category.

Alex Rivera is a New York based digital media artist and filmmaker. His first feature film, Sleep Dealer, premiered at Sundance 2008, and won two awards, including the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Rivera is a Sundance Fellow and a Rockefeller Fellow. His work, which addresses concerns of the Latino community through a language of humor, satire, and metaphor, has also been screened at The Berlin International Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, The Guggenheim Museum, PBS, Telluride, and other international venues.


Photo by Javier Castaño



TropiChat: Fernando Eimbcke interviewed by Gavin Smith

Presented in partnership with the New Museum, Film Movement and the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.

The New Museum
July 11, 2009


Fernando Eimbcke was born in Mexico City in 1970, and completed his cinematography studies in 1996 at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos. His work includes several short films and music videos. In 2004, he wrote and directed his first feature film Temporada de patos (Duck season), which was featured in the 43rd Critics' Week at Cannes 2004, and nearly ninety international festivals. Co-written with Paula Markovitch, his most recent film, Lake Tahoe, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and has won numerous awards internationally.

Gavin Smith is the editor of the Film Comment Magazine.






TropiChat: Eduardo Coutinho and Bruno Barreto

Presented in partnership with Americas Society.

Presented as part of Premiere Brazil! 09 organized by the Museum of Modern Art and the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival.


Americas Society
July 20, 2009


Hear the audio podcast.

Eduardo Coutinho is one of Brazil's greatest documentary filmmakers who is highly regarded for his formally distinguished and innovative style. His influential works highlight the storytelling abilities of ordinary people in films of rare beauty and impact. Coutinho's favorite theme throughout his filmography has been the investigation of the fine line between fiction and reality. He has received numerous awards for his documentaries, which include Twenty Years Later - Man Labeled to Die, (1964/1984), filmed over a period of two decades, Master, a Building in Copacabana (2002), Babilônia 2000 (2000), Metalworkers (2004), The End and the Beginning (2005) and Playing (2006). His screenwriting credits include Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976). Premiere Brazil includes a retrospective of eight seminal works by Coutinho including the world premiere of his most recent film Moscou (2009).

Bruno Barreto has been making feature-length films since he was seventeen years old and remains one of Brazil's most accomplished and popular directors. Son of producers Luiz Carlos and Lucy Barreto he made his directing debut with Tati, Brazil's official entry at the 1973 Moscow Film Festival and was 22 when he scored an international hit with Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands (1977), a comedy based on the Jorge Amado novel starring Sonia Braga. Barreto's English-language directorial debut, the political thriller A Show of Force (1990), was followed by Carried Away (1996), starring Amy Irving and Dennis Hopper. In 1997 Barreto made Four Days in September, a film about the 1969 kidnapping of the US Ambassador to Brazil, Charles Elbrick (Alan Arkin) which was nominated for an Academy Award Best Foreign Film. In Brazil his romantic comedy Bossa Nova (2000), also starring Irving, was followed by The Marriage of Romeo and Juliet (2005) and Caixa Dois (2007). Premiere Brazil is presenting the New York premiere of his most recent film Last Stop 174 (2008) based on the real life tragedy of the 2000 hijacking of bus 174 in Rio de Janeiro.



Photos by Ana Bernstein.

Special thanks to Mariela Hardy and Gabriela Rangel (Americas Society), Jytte Jensen (The Museum of Modern Art) and Ilda Santiago (Rio Film Festival).




TropiChat: Daniel Burman interviewed by Ira Sachs

Presented in partnership with NYU's King Juan Carlos I Center and sponsored by BOMB Magazine.


King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York University
March 9, 2009


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Daniel Burman, born in Buenos Aires in 1973, is one of the central figures of today's New Argentine Cinema. He began his work as a filmmaker in 1993 with the documentary ¿En qué estación estamos? A couple of years later, he launched his own production company together with Diego Dubcovsky, BD CINE, and produced his first feature-length picture as director, Un crisantemo estalla en Cincoesquinas (A Chrysanthemum Burst in Cincoesquinas. His feature films Esperando al Mesías (Waiting for the Messiah), Todas las azafatas van al cielo (Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven), El abrazo partido (The Lost Embrace) and Derecho de familia (Family Law) have all successfully participated in the most important film festivals around the world including Berlin, Sundance, Toronto and Venice, and have garnered him numerous prizes. In 2004 he acted as co-producer of Walter Salles' acclaimed movie Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries), and his most recent film Empty Nest (El nido vacío) –starring Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother) and Oscar Martínez–about a married couple who try to redefine their relationship after their children grow, was released last spring in the U.S. by Outsider Pictures.

Ira Sach. His most recent film, Married Life, screened at the 2007 Toronto and New York Film Festivals and was released by Sony Pictures Classics on March 7th, 2008. His previous film, Forty Shades of Blue, received the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. His first feature, The Delta, was screened at the Toronto, Sundance and Rotterdam Film Festivals. Sachs was the recipient of the Emerging Talent Award at the 1997 Los Angeles Outfest and in 1999, was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship.

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Photos by Natalia Fidelholtz.

Special thanks to Paul Hudson (Outsider Pictures) and Steven Beeman (Falco Ink).