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a group of naked woman stand by a wooden hut in a forest.

SFFILM Festival

La Bonga

Directed by Sebastián Pinzón Silva, Canela Reyes

Colombia | 77

15 Apr
Sat, Apr 15, 2023 at 12:30 pm PT

Guests Expected

Director Canela Reyes


With Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary forces closing in, the Afro-Colombian inhabitants of La Bonga fled their farming community, leaving the jungle to reclaim it. Sebastian Pinzón Silva and Canela Reyes’s lyrical debut navigates the sticky terrains of memory, history, and home as it documents the Bongueros’ return 20 years later to what was once their village. Guided by a strong matriarch, the erstwhile townspeople and their descendants navigate the wilderness, remembering the hamlet and reconstructing it. As the families prepare to celebrate this bittersweet homecoming, they fight being written off by history along with the all-engulfing ferocity of nature.

Director Sebastián Pinzón-Silva

Sebastián Pinzón Silva is a Colombian documentary filmmaker. He studied film and television at the Savannah College of Art and Design and a master’s degree in documentary media at Northwestern University in Chicago. His directorial work has been screened at festivals such as Locarno, Cinéma du Réel, MoMA Doc Fortnight, True/False, SFFILM, RIDM, and New Directors / New Films. His short Palenque won Best Latin American short in FICValdivia in 2017. 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 Cinema 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.

Director Canela Reyes

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. La Bonga (True/ False, Cinéma Du Réel, 2023), is her first feature film as a director. 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, FICCI, Global Cinema Boston, Documenta Madrid, DOKer Russia, and Thessaloniki DF, among others. She co-directed Omí VR, a virtual reality experience around afro-colombian santería, and she took part in the Afro Religious Systems Group for a period of three years. She is co-founder of the new film production company Jarana Cine, and of Video Consortium Colombia, a global network of support and connection between filmmakers.

Film Details

Language Spanish

Year 2023

Premiere California

Runtime 77

Country Colombia, USA

Director Sebastián Pinzón Silva, Canela Reyes

Executive Producer Kellen Quinn

Producer Gabriella Garcia-Pardo

Editor Laura Huertas Millán, Sebastián Pinzón Silva, Canela Reyes

Cinematographer Timothy Fryett, Sebastián Pinzón Silva

Closed Captions Closed Captions are not currently confirmed and will be updated soon.

Audio Description Audio Descriptions are not currently confirmed and will be updated soon.

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation American Sign Language Interpretation is not currently confirmed and will be updated. For any questions about accessibility at SFFILM Events, please email ADA@SFFilm.org.