Speaking Engagements

Kristal is a Latinx documentary filmmaker, festival programmer, awards manager and freelance journalist.

  • Tips and tricks for emerging and student filmmakers
  • Film festival and awards show systems, programming and curation
  • Union organizing and worker’s rights
  • Community-based filmmaking practices and reporting
  • The intersections of solutions journalism and community media
  • Latinx, immigrant, and LGBTQIA+ film criticism and study
  • Social media marketing and crowdfunding for films
  • Protecting targeted and surveilled communities in mediamaking
  • Public and private schools
  • Film and media nonprofits
  • Film festivals and conferences
  • Virtual and in-person events
  • Colleges and universities:
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • Swarthmore College
    • Bryn Mawr College
    • Haverford College
    • Temple University
    • Skidmore College
    • The College of New Jersey
    • Muhlenberg College
    • Elon University


“Kristal Sotomayor joined us for an evening to view a clip of the documentary film Expanding Sanctuary, and to discuss their experiences navigating the complexity of identity, belonging and representation. Although this event was virtual, Kristal was an engaging participant with honest and poignant responses. We look forward to being able to host Kristal Sotomayor again at the University of Pennsylvania.”

— Akira Drake Rodriguez, Assistant Professor in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design

“Kristal was a wonderful guest speaker for my classroom of grad students who needed some insight on the film festival process, Kristal gave wonderful tips on how to stand out when submitting to a film festival, do’s and donts, and insider knowledge on what a festival programmer is looking for. I cannot understate how their visit benefited my students and the time and generous knowledge Kristal gave.”

William Marcellus Armstrong, Adjunct Professor at Temple University

“Kristal joined the LVAIC Documentary Storymaking Capstone class to engage five student-filmmakers in an expansive conversation on navigating the documentary industry. They led an impactful hour-long discussion, responding to students’ questions around form, process, and ethics in their film, Expanding Sanctuary, and lending critical insight to building a career as an artist.

— Drew Swedberg, Teaching Assistant for the Doc Storymaking program at Muhlenberg College

Speaking Engagements


“Holding Documentary Film Accountable: The True, the False, and Everything Else” Panel – Based On A True Story (BOATS) Conference at the University of Missouri

“Storytelling: A Director’s Role” Conversation – University of Pennsylvania Cinema and Media Studies Program

Senior Capstone Class Conversation – Swarthmore College

Film and Media Arts MFA Colloquium – Temple University

Film Festival History and Practice Course – University of Pennsylvania at the Annenberg School for Communication

Transcendent Storytelling: A Conversation with Trans Filmmakers – The Gotham Week Expo

Workshop: Organizing – IDA’s Getting Real Conference – WATCH


“Creator Meetup: Beyond Representation: Tools for Expanding Trans Awareness in Media” Panelist – Sundance Co//ab – WATCH

“Where’s the Accountability in Documentary?” Panelist – Double Exposure Film Festival

“Both…And: Thinking Outside the Category” Panelist – Film Festival Alliance FilmEx conference

“Queering Latinx/Latinx Queering: Imagining Inclusive Urban Spaces” Panelist – University of Pennsylvania – WATCH

“How to Build an Inclusive Culture in Media Production” Panelist – Elon University School of Communications

Undocumented Filmmakers Collective: HEAL Shorts Program Q&A Moderator – Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival – WATCH

“Building and Sustaining an Anti-Racist Arts Organization” Panelist – Vision Driven Artists – WATCH

Led a Spanish-language Art and Change Grant Info Session – Leeway Foundation

“Active Subjects” Panelist – 2021 MDOCS Forum and Storytellers’ Institute at Skidmore College

“Producer’s Circle: Producing Community Care” Panelist – PhillyCAM – WATCH

“LGBTQIA+ Alumni Activism” Panelist – Bryn Mawr College Alumni Weekend

“The New Wave: A See Change Project” Panelist – Film Streams – WATCH

The Film Fatales x PHLAFF Q&A Moderator – Philadelphia Latino Film Festival – WATCH

Doc Storymaking Program Panelist – Collaborative program between Lafayette College, Lehigh University, and Muhlenberg College

Rivers Of Ash Q&A Moderator – Philadelphia Latino Film Festival – WATCH

“Independent Strategies” Course Speaker – University of the Arts

Femme Frontera Showcase Q&A Moderator – Philadelphia Latino Film Festival – WATCH

Led a Film Festival Strategies – SIFTMedia 215 Collective – WATCH


North Short Residency Q&A Panelist – Camden International Film Festival

“Queer Coming of Age Stories” Q&A Moderator – Philadelphia Latino Film Festival – WATCH

“Terms of En-Queer-Ment: A history of the movies and LGBTQ+ Identity” Panelist – The College of New Jersey

Career & Civic Engagement Office’s Alumnae/i in Residence program – Bryn Mawr College

Film Festival Lounge Panelist – Philm Factory

Spider Moth Butterfly Q&A Moderator – Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival – WATCH


Decolonizing Visual Anthropology Course Speaker – Haverford College

“Behind The Screens” Panelist – Temple University

A Conversation With… Panelist – Independent Film Association of Philadelphia

Fireside chat with Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

A fireside chat with Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (author of The Undocumented Americans) moderated by Kareli Lizarraga (Associate Director for the Center of Hispanic Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania) as part of the Transdisciplinary Urbanism in Times of Precarity Lecture Series, sponsored by the LGBT Center, La Casa Latina, the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, and the Provost Office’s Initiative in Excellence through Diversity at the University of Pennsylvania

Producer’s Circle: Producing Community Care

Producers Jos Duncan-Ase (Love Now Media) and Kristal Sotomayor (¡Presente! Media) discuss what community care looks like to them and how their projects are a form of care for their communities. Hosted by Gabe Castro.

VDA Panel: Building and Sustaining an Anti-Racist Arts Organization

Three Philadelphia art leaders speak on their experience w/ building and sustaining anti-racist organizations

Queer Coming of Age Stories Conversation at the 2020 Philadelphia Latino Film Festival

This conversation features first-time feature director Patricia Vidal Delgado and actress Monica Betancourt of La Leyenda Negra. The film follows teenage Aleteia who has just transferred to a new high school in Compton and struggles to make friends.

Spider Moth Butterfly Q&A at the 2020 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

Inspired by the question of why we love, what we love, and how we should love it, Spider Moth Butterfly observes a traveling circus whose young circus master—fueled by her sense of responsibility towards their goal and her self-righteous self-assurance—leads the group in its collective quest for the highest point of excellence in their craft.

PHLAFF2021 Q&A Session: The Film Fatales

Please enjoy this Q&A session between Kristal Sotomayor, the Programing Director at PHLAFF, the founder of the Film Fatales, Leah Meyerhoff, and various female and non-binary filmmakers. Film Fatales is a non-profit film organization that supports women and non-binary individuals working in the film industry.

The New Wave: A See Change Project” Interview

Artistic Director Diana Martinez talks to Gabriela Watson-Burkett, Kristal Sotomayor & Melissa Beatriz, the co-founders of ¡Presente! Media, a Philadelphia-based collective led by Latinx filmmakers and journalists focused on social justice.


As the documentary field grows more attuned to the profits and social messages generated by nonfiction content, we continue to overlook the labor and reputational work of researchers, producers, and arts workers, often in favor of celebrating the mission-driven work of film nonprofits and documentary production companies. In this session, we will hear from organizers of workplace unions that are at various stages of the unionizing process on how they are working to make our industries better for all the workers that power the nonfiction space. In particular, we will learn how workplace organizing across the industry, from commercial production companies to nonprofits that appear to be shoestring operations, makes all of our film institutions stronger.

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