About

ABOUT

Kristal Sotomayor is a bilingual Latinx documentary filmmaker, festival programmer, and freelance journalist based in Philadelphia, PA.

Artist Bio


Kristal Sotomayor is a bilingual Latinx documentary filmmaker, festival programmer, awards manager, 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. They are also in-development on a animated short docufiction film called UNTITLED LATINX COVID-1619 PROJECT that take a dive into the Alice In Wonderland-like reality of contracting COVID-19; from the symptoms of vertigo to sensory loss and the labyrinth of seeking treatment. 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, BAVC Serial Storytellers Lab, Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia Lab, and NeXtDoc Fellowship. They are a member of the filmmaking collectives SIFT Media 215, The Video Consortium: Philadelphia and Brown Girls Doc Mafia.

They serve as the Programming Director of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PHLAFF) and the Awards Competition Manager for the IDA Documentary Awards, the world’s most prestigious event dedicated to the documentary genre. Formerly, they were 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 Film Festival Alliance & Full Spectrum Features Film Festival Leadership Lab Fellowship, 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, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, CherryPicks Approved Critic, and the TIME’S UP Critical Database.

Presenting Expanding Sanctuary as part of the 2018 Doc Society’s Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia

Filmmaking Accolades


Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia, Doc Society Media Maker Fellowship & Grant

2021, 2020 & 2018

Scribe Video Center Philadelphia Independent
Media Fund

2021 & 2020

Justice For My Sister BIPOC Sci-Fi Screenwriting Lab

2020

Leeway Foundation Arts & Culture Grant

2019

Bryn Mawr College Film Studies Department Scholarship

2017

Bay Area Video Coalition Serial Storytelling Lab

2021

Independence Public Media Foundation Filmmaker Grant

2020

Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Fund for Art and Civic Engagement Art is Essential Grant

2020

Youth FX Next Doc Fellowship

2017

If/Then & Camden International Film Festival North Shorts Grant & Residency

2020

Philadelphia Contemporary Velocity Fund

2020

Scribe Video Center Film Scholars Fellowship

2018

Haverford College HCAH Flaherty Seminar Scholars

2017

MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute Visiting Fellowship

2021

DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Shorts Lab

2020

NALIP Latino Media Fest & Diverse Women in Media Forum Emerging Content
Creators Scholarship

2020

Double Exposure Festival Scholarship

2020 & 2018

Covering Sundance Film Festival as part of the 2020 Sundance Film Institute Press Inclusion Initiative

Journalism Accolades


Sundance Film Institute Press Inclusion Initiative

2021 & 2020

Public Radio Exchange (PRX) Podcasting for Journalists Intensive

2020

International Documentary Association (IDA) Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellowship

2020

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Press Inclusion Initiative

2020

NBC University Visual Storytelling During Breaking News

2020

NLGJA | The Association of LGBTQ Journalists AARP Freelance Fellowship

2020

Lenfest Institute For Journalism Next Generation Fund

2020

Brown Girls Doc Mafia at True/False Film Festival

Leadership Training


Film Festival Alliance & Full Spectrum Features Film Festival Leadership Lab Fellowship

2021

National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Advocacy Leadership Institute

2021

Arts + Business Council [Virtual] Creative Exchange Program

2020

Bryn Mawr College Leadership, Empowerment & Achievement Program (LEAP) Certificate

2017

Organizational Affiliations


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

Melacast

YouthFX

Solutions Journalism Network

The Video Consortium
Brown Girls Doc Mafia
Scribe Video Center
New York City Women Filmmakers
Free The Work
Global Impact Producers Group
Ghetto Film School Roster
CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
CherryPicks

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