La Bonga

Colombia, United States
2023 — 77' / Color


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On April 5, 2001, shortly after a nearby massacre at the hands of right-wing paramilitaries, two hooded strangers entered the farming town of La Bonga and delivered a letter. The note accused the town of sympathizing with the FARC, the largest guerrilla group in Colombia. The people were given 48 hours to either leave or be forcibly removed. And so, the entirety of La Bonga––150 families––fled that same day. Most resettled in nearby towns that are each an arduous 3-hour walk away from their former homes. Over time, the jungle that surrounded their town swallowed it whole. There exists little more than memories; an entire generation knows only of their birthplace through the stories of their parents and grandparents. Many see La Bonga as a mythical land that has vanished.

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Director Biography

Sebastián Pinzón Silva is a Colombian documentary filmmaker. He studied film and television at the Savannah College of Art and Design and he has a master's degree in documentary media from Northwestern University in Chicago. His directorial work has been screened at festivals such as Locarno, MoMA Doc Fortnight, and New Directors / New Films. His short Palenque won Best Latin American short in FICValdivia in 2017. His film La Bonga, co-directed with Canela Reyes, received the Loridan-Ivens prize for the best first feature film at Cinéma Du Réel in 2023 and the award for best documentary at Cinélatino in Toulouse. Sebastián worked as an assistant editor for MINDING THE GAP (2019 Oscar Nominee). He has since worked as editor and cinematographer for productions for National Geographic, Honnold Foundation, and the Truth Commission of Colombia. Sebastián was named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in the United States by Filmmaker Magazine in 2019. He is co-founder of Jarana Cine, SITE Collective, and Video Consortium Colombia, a global network of support and connection between documentary filmmakers. With a background in anthropology and literature, Canela Reyes has worked as a director, screenwriter, and researcher on films and community development projects around Colombia. She worked as a co-writer, researcher, and co-producer on the films Lapü (Sundance, Berlinale 2019), and “Carropasajero” (World Cinema Fund, FDC). The projects she has worked on have also been exhibited at festivals such as CPH:DOX, DocsBarcelona, Cinelatino, FICCI, Documenta Madrid, DOKer Russia, and Thessaloniki DF, among others. Her first feature film as a director, La Bonga, co-directed with Sebastián Pinzón Silva, received the Loridan-Ivens prize for the best opera prima at Cinéma Du Réel in 2023 and the Best Documentary award at Cinélatino in Toulouse. She co-directed Omí VR, a virtual reality experience around Afro-Colombian santería, and she took part in the Afro Religious Systems Group for three years. She worked as a documentary filmmaker at the Gaia Amazon Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung in Colombia. She is co-founder of the production company Jarana Cine, and of Video Consortium Colombia, a global network of support and connection between filmmakers.

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Canela Reyes

Sebastián Pinzón Silva


Gabriella Garcia-Pardo


Sebastián Pinzón Silva

Timothy Fryett


Canela Reyes

Laura Huertas Millán


Mercedes Gaviria Jaramillo

Tariq Burney


Gabriella Garcia-Pardo
1110 Owen PL NE
Washington, DC 20002
United States
[email protected]