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 aim to decolonize documentary by practicing 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 is a 2019 Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia grantee, 2018 Leeway Foundation Art & Change grantee, and 2017 NeXtDoc Fellow.
They serve as the Programming Director for the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PHLAFF) and 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.
Kristal’s journalistic background includes having written for ITVS, AL DÍA, WHYY, and Submittable. They are a Sundance Institute Press Inclusion Initiative awardee, International Documentary Association (IDA) Magazine Editorial fellow, and Lenfest Next Generation Fund awardee. Kristal is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).
In the past, Kristal has received the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival Scholarship and the HCAH Flaherty Seminar Student Fellowship from Haverford College. Additional awards include the Hanna Holborn Gray Research Fellowship and Film Studies Program Fellowship from Bryn Mawr College.
At Bryn Mawr College, Kristal was the Head of the Film Series Committee, curating twice-weekly film screenings on campus, and the Founder and Co-President of the Filmmakers Association, which 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 Bryn Mawr College thesis short film To My Motherland, about their experiences being a first generation Latina, has screened at film festivals across the United States and Europe.