Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Film
Competition: US & Canada
Natalia Almada has been appointed as a Guggenheim Fellow in filmmaking. As she explained in a narrative account of her career, she uses film as a means to explore "how the past defines who we are today and to create a visual memory that reflects [her] view of the world...[M]aking films is about posing questions." Her talent for documentary filmmaking was apparent early on: for her graduate thesis, she submitted All Water has a Perfect Memory, a nineteen-minute film about the drowning of her two-year-old sister when Natalia was an infant. The film not only helped to earn her an M.F.A. with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design, but was an official selection of the 2002 Sundance Festival, was screened at the Guggenheim Museum, and received numerous awards at international film festivals.
The issues her dual Mexican and American citizenships and bicultural upbringing raise inform not only that first film, but also her second, Al Otro Lado, which invites the audience to examine immigration and drug trafficking as choices driven by desperate economic situations rather than just political talking points. In El General, her third film project and the one for which she received her Fellowship, she intends to use her grandmother's recollections as a jumping off point for examining the relationship between personal and collective memory, and how both inform one's view of one's self, one's family, and one's country. El General has been accepted for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Natalia Almada owns Altamura Films, an independent documentary film production company, and is a freelance documentary film editor. She has been a Fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts and of the MacDowell Colony. Her work has been supported not only by the Guggenheim Foundation but by Creative Capital and the Sundance Institute. She lives and works in both Mexico City and Brooklyn, New York.