Almada, Director/Producer of Three Award-winning POV Feature Documentaries, Is Among 23 Fellows Announced by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation yesterday named its new MacArthur Fellows for 2012, and filmmaker Natalia Almada, whose three feature-length documentaries have premiered on PBS' POV series, was thrilled to learn that she is among the 23 individuals--and that she is the first Latina filmmaker since the MacArthur Fellows' inaugural class in 1981--to earn the coveted honor, sometimes called the "genius grant." The fellowship is a $500,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more.
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The MacArthur Fellowship is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual and professional inclinations. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowships to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the directions of their careers. More information about the program is available at www.macfound.org/fellows.
Since 2001, when Almada created her first film, the experimental short All Water Has a Perfect Memory, she has made her mark by telling personal stories about her family, her native country and the ways in which the cultures and politics of Mexico and the United States affect people on both sides of the border. POV premiered her award-winning debut feature documentary, Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side), a look at immigration, drug trafficking and corrido music, in 2006. Her next feature, El General, about her family's memories of her great grandfather, Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles, aired on POV in 2010. Her latest film, El Velador (The Night Watchman), a quiet look at the violence of Mexico's drug lords as seen through the eyes of a cemetery guard, premiered as part of POV's 25th( )anniversary season on Sept. 27, 2012; it continues to air on PBS stations nationwide and is streaming on POV's website, www.pbs.org/pov.
"I first met Natalia Almada in a shuttle van traveling to the Salt Lake City airport in 2002, going home from the Sundance Film Festival," said Cynthia Lopez, POV's co-executive producer. "Later we met at the POV offices, where she and I discussed her short film All Water Has a Perfect Memory, which she told me was inspired by a Toni Morrison essay. I was taken by the way this short, beautiful film encompassed so much: the tragedy of her family losing a child, growing up between American and Mexican cultures and the healing power of memory. Similar themes of remembrance, movement and the ties that bind Mexico and the United States have woven through her feature documentaries, and we are proud to provide a national showcase for Almada's innovative work, as well as a springboard for discussion about the issues the films raise."
"The MacArthur Foundation has made critical investments in documentary filmmakers who have changed the way we see the world. We are pleased that Almada will be joining this distinguished group of artistic visionaries and excited to see what this support brings," said Simon Kilmurry, POV's executive producer.
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