Lourdes Portillo

Career Achievement Award

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and raised in Los Angeles, Lourdes Portillo has been making award-winning films about Latin American, Mexican, and Chicano/a experiences and social justice issues for nearly forty years. Since her first film, After the Earthquake/ Despues del Terremoto (1979), she has produced and directed over a dozen works that reveal her signature hybrid style as a visual artist, investigative journalist, and activist.

Portillo’s sixteen completed films include the Academy Award® and Emmy® Award nominated Las Madres: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1986), La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead (1988), Columbus on Trial (1992), The Devil Never Sleeps (1994), Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena (1999), My McQueen (2004), Al Más Allá (2008), and her first animated film, State of Grace (2013). Her celebrated feature-length film, Señorita Extraviada (2001), a documentary about the disappearance and death of young women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, received a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Havana International Film Festival, the Nestor Almendros Award at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and the Ariel, the Mexican Academy of Film Award.

Portillo’s films have screened at premiere cultural institutions and events around the world such as the Venice Biennale, Toronto International Film Festival, London Film Festival, the São Paulo International Film Festival, the Whitney Museum for American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in the New Directors/New Films program presented by the Film Society at Lincoln Center and the New York Museum of Modern Art. She has been honored with over ten career retrospectives, including exhibitions at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art, the Cineteca Nacional de Mexico, the Pacific Film Archive, Museum of Modern Art New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art Buenos Aires. She is the subject of the critical anthology Lourdes Portillo: The Devil Never Sleeps and Other Films edited by Rosa Linda Fregoso (University of Texas Press, 2001) and the recipient of Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2016, she was honored with the distinguished Anonymous Was A Woman Award for her career artistic achievements.

From September 2017 to January 2018, Portillo presents as curator “From Latin America to Hollywood: Latino Film Culture in Los Angeles, 1967-2017, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ contribution to the Getty Foundation’s “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.” This multi-year research initiative led by Portillo culminates in film screenings, film restorations, public symposia, online oral histories and a print publication on the shared influences of Latino and Latin American filmmakers and the work they created or presented in Los Angeles during the past half-century.