Updated: Apr 6, 2021
For years, Latin American cinema has been on the rise in being acknowledged on a global level. From Guillermo del toro’s Oscar winning film, The Shape Of Water to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, directors and writers in Latin American have been recognized for their emotional storytelling and captivating visuals.
This year at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival during the Critics’ Week program, female director Sofia Quiros made her feature film debut Ceniza Negra (Land of Ashes). This isn’t the first time Quiros has graced Cannes, she previously showed Selva during Critics’ week in 2017, which was made during the process of developing Ceniza Negra. This personal coming of age drama is about a 13 year old girl named Selva (Smashleen Gutierrez) in a coastal town in the Caribbean going through the process of grief. She explained to Deadline, “I was trying to tell the story of how a little girl goes through mourning and how this mourning was very magical and transformative for her.” Costa Rican director/writer Quiros was inspired by her own life as she went through three significant deaths in her family. She was significantly inspired by her cousin who lost her mother, “I was seeing how she deals with the idea of how her mother was sick and the idea of death… Everything was so natural for her… It’s fascinating how a little girl can go through something so difficult and she has this vision of life — obviously she has pain, but she understands death like something natural… This inspires me a lot,” Quiros said to Deadline Studios. She immersed these inspirations onto the big screen through the visuals of magical elements.
This film was a leap for Costa Rica since it was the first feature film from Costa Rica to be screen at Cannes. As someone who is of Mexican descent, it is important for these stories to be told not only in Latin America, but globally. Directors like Sofia Quiros tell these important stories that reach an audience that go through similar things and Quiros is only one of many talented directors who will push the rise of Latin America cinema.