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, 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.

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

Filmmaking Accolades


Scribe Video Center Philadelphia Independent Media Finishing Fund

2021 & 2020

PHDC Public Art Committee and the Knight Foundation Art Is Essential Grant

2021

HCAH Flaherty Seminar Student Fellowship

2017

MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute Visiting Fellowship

2021

If/Then, Points North, LEF Foundation, and Screening Room North Shorts Residency and Grant

2020

Double Exposure Film Festival Scholarship

2020 & 2018

Youth Fx & The Carey Institute NextDoc Fellowship

2017

NALIP Emerging Content Creators Scholarship

2020

Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the​ Visual Arts The Velocity Fund

2020

Bryn Mawr College Film Studies Department Film Studies Fellowship

2017

DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Lab

2020

Doc Society’s Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia Media Maker Presenter

2020 & 2018

Scribe Video Center co-presented by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Film Scholar Program

2017

Justice For My Sister Black, Indigenous, People of Color Sci-Fi Screenwriting Lab

2020

Doc Society’s Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia Media Maker Grant

2019

Haverford College Digital Storytelling Workshop

2016

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


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
Sisters in Film and Television (SIFT) Media 215
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists
Melacast
YouthFX
Brown Girls Doc Mafia
Scribe Video Center
New York City Women Filmmakers
Global Impact Producers Group
Ghetto Film School Roster
CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia

Let’s build something together.