Enrique Pedráza Botero, A Colombian Filmmaker To Watch

Enrique (on the left) on the set of Song From A Blackbird in 2013.

It’s been a busy couple of years for Enrique Pedráza Botero, a filmmaker from Bogota, Colombia, now living and working in the U.S. Enrique graduated from the New York Film Academy in 2013 with a degree in Film and quickly started producing and directing several short films. His film The Yellow Card highlighted New York subway musicians, including Frankie Garcia, an aging guitarist fro Puerto Rico, and Sonia and Larry Wright, two bucket drummers from the Bronx. The film screened at film festivals worldwide, and took home the Jury Prize for Best Short Documentary at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival.

Other films produced by Enrique include the surreal short Sylvie, directed by frequent collaborator Valerie Khoudari, which premiered at the Dead By Dawn Film Festival in Scotland, as well as the experimental video short Free and the documentary Dreams for Dinner, both directed by Nayantara Roy. Most recently, Enrique produced Salamo Manetti-LAX’s Fucking Freak, a surreal short film that follows an alien who walks around Los Angeles and has strange, unpleasant encounters with people in the city. It premiered at the 19th Annual Boston Underground Film Festival in March of this year.

Enrique collaborated with Valerie Khoudari once again for Song From A Blackbird, a black and white film on the tumultuous relationship between a mother and a son, and their struggle to re-connect after there’s a death in the family. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it has played at over 20 festivals and has gone to win several awards, including a Best Director prize for Enrique at the 30Under30 Film Festival in New York, a festival that highlights directors of color under the age of 30.

Not only has Enrique been active as a filmmaker, he also has an established career in film festivals and arts organizations. He was part of the team who brought Ambulante, the largest documentary film festival in Latin America, to the U.S. as Ambulante California, and was Head of Programming for two years. With Ambulante, Enrique traveled around Los Angeles, bringing a range of curated documentaries for free to diverse communities. The festival organized screenings in public spaces such as Pershing Square, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, MacArthur Park, and several community centers and universities. Enrique has also worked for the Los Angeles Film Festival, AFI Fest, and most recently for the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, managing the Edit & Story Lab, the Music & Sound Design Lab and supporting the Creative Producing Lab.

On the film side, Enrique is currently working on a feature-length documentary about Folk singer Jackie Washington, an Afro-Latino who was a prominent figure in the Folk revival scene of 1960s Boston. His music and style inspired a generation of folk singers at the time, but his music has since been shelved and nearly forgotten. He now goes by the name of Jack Landrón and resides at a senior housing complex in Chinatown, Los Angeles with hopes to revive his career as a performer. The film, as yet untitled, is in the early stages of post-production. With several other projects in development, Enrique Pedráza Botero is definitely a filmmaker to watch.

Jackie Washington in 1961 at 23 years old. Photo by: Joe Alper.

Entertainment, News, Features & Interviews From Around The World -By: Amber Bollard (Interviewer/Writer)

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