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 thirty 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 fourteen 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), and her new short film, Al Más Allá (2008). Her most recent 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 an Ariel at the Mexican Academy of Film Award.
Portillo’s work has 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 Walker Art Center, 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 eight mid-career retrospectives, including exhibitions at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art, the Pacific Film Archive of the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Cineteca Nacional de Mexico, and 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).