Kristal Sotomayor is a bilingual Latinx documentary filmmaker, festival programmer, and freelance journalist based in Philadelphia, PA.
Kristal Sotomayor is a bilingual Latinx documentary filmmaker, festival programmer, and freelance journalist based in Philadelphia. Drawing inspiration from their Peruvian heritage, Kristal’s community-based work practice focuses on Latinidad, immigration, and belonging. They practice transformative filmmaking that humanizes and validates the lived experiences of underrepresented communities.
Currently, Kristal is in post-production on EXPANDING SANCTUARY, an independent short documentary about the historic end to police surveillance organized by nonprofit Juntos and the Latinx immigrant community in South Philadelphia. The documentary began through the Film Scholars Fellowship with Scribe Video Center, co-sponsored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. Kristal’s work has been supported by the MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute Visiting Fellowship, If/Then North Shorts Residency, DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Lab, Justice For My Sister Sci-Fi TV Screenwriting Lab, Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia Lab, and NeXtDoc Fellowship. They are a member of the filmmaking collectives SIFT Media 215 and Brown Girls Doc Mafia.
They serve as the Programming Director of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PHLAFF) and were formerly the Communications and Outreach Coordinator at Scribe Video Center. In the past, they have assisted with curation for the “Spotlight on Documentaries” at IFP Week, Camden International Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival and the award-winning PBS documentary series POV | American Documentary. Through their work, they have served as Curator/Juror for the 2021 Tri-Co Film Festival and were on the Jury Committee for Narrative and Documentary Shorts for the 2020 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. They have received leadership training from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Advocacy Leadership Institute and the Arts + Business Council [Virtual] Creative Exchange Program.
Kristal’s journalistic background includes having written for ITVS, AL DÍA, WHYY, and Documentary Magazine. They write the Latinx cinema column “Cine alzando voz” and serve on the Editorial Board for the film journal cinéSPEAK. Kristal is a Co-Founder/Journalist of ¡Presente! Media, a collective led by Latinx filmmakers that produce bilingual content focused on social justice. Their writing has been supported by the Sundance Institute Press Inclusion Initiative, TIFF Media Inclusion Initiative, the inaugural International Documentary Association (IDA) Magazine Editorial Fellowship, NBC University Visual Storytelling During Breaking News Program, and Lenfest Next Generation Fund. Kristal is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, and the TIME’S UP Critical Database.
At Bryn Mawr College, Kristal was the Head of the Film Series Committee, curating twice-weekly film screenings on campus and writing film reviews. They were the Founder and Co-President of the Filmmakers Association that united student filmmakers and provided workshops on filmmaking basics. Through the Filmmakers Association, they established the first 48 Hour Film Festival, where groups of students create films in a 48 hour timespan. Their thesis short film To My Motherland, about their experiences being a first generation Latinx, has screened at film festivals across the globe and streamed on Comcast Xfinity.
Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia, Doc Society Media Maker Fellowship & Grant
2021, 2020 & 2018
Scribe Video Center Philadelphia Independent
2021 & 2020
Justice For My Sister BIPOC Sci-Fi Screenwriting Lab
Leeway Foundation Arts & Culture Grant
Bryn Mawr College Film Studies Department Scholarship
Bay Area Video Coalition Serial Storytelling Lab
Independence Public Media Foundation Filmmaker Grant
Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Fund for Art and Civic Engagement Art is Essential Grant
Youth FX Next Doc Fellowship
If/Then & Camden International Film Festival North Shorts Grant & Residency
Philadelphia Contemporary Velocity Fund
Scribe Video Center Film Scholars Fellowship
Haverford College HCAH Flaherty Seminar Scholars
MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute Visiting Fellowship
DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Shorts Lab
NALIP Latino Media Fest & Diverse Women in Media Forum Emerging Content
Double Exposure Festival Scholarship
2020 & 2018
Sundance Film Institute Press Inclusion Initiative
2021 & 2020
Public Radio Exchange (PRX) Podcasting for Journalists Intensive
International Documentary Association (IDA) Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellowship
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Press Inclusion Initiative
NBC University Visual Storytelling During Breaking News
NLGJA | The Association of LGBTQ Journalists AARP Freelance Fellowship
Lenfest Institute For Journalism Next Generation Fund
Film Festival Alliance & Full Spectrum Features Film Festival Leadership Lab Fellowship
National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Advocacy Leadership Institute
Arts + Business Council [Virtual] Creative Exchange Program
Bryn Mawr College Leadership, Empowerment & Achievement Program (LEAP) Certificate
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics
Sisters in Film and Television (SIFT) Media 215
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists
Solutions Journalism Network