Lourdes Portillo1999

Having written and directed dramatic films, made performance art videos and worked in multi-media theatre, Lourdes Portillo is best known as an independent documentary filmmaker who erases the lines between genres. A Chicana artist committed to social vision and artistic innovation, her films attempt to replicate ways of communicating among ordinary people by including their use of myth, gossip, telenovelas and melodrama, as well as through the unexpected silence, the overlooked gesture. Attentive as much to the problems of the medium, and alternative narrative strategies as to the complexities and representation of culture, Portillo's films exhibit a deeply felt, powerful, female authority.

"As a documentarian, I pursue facts, objectivity and fairness in representation, but as a film artist, I am drawn toward pushing the boundaries of documentary realism. Like many women artists and artists of color, I have grappled with the tension between social vision and artistic innovation. I have a long-standing interest in redefining what is "valuable" in art, and challenging prevailing notions about where legitimate artistic inspiration comes from. Who among us will make art that is worthy of being rewarded? Of being seen and discussed, funded, collected? To me, there is no high art or low art: invention comes from the most unlikely places."