An award-winning film director with over a decade of experience in feature length and short documentaries.
Juan Mejia Botero is an award-winning film director with over a decade of experience in feature length and short documentaries. His work has focused primarily on human rights, activist, grassroots media and collaborative documentaries.
As a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, Juan traveled, lived, and worked as a community video facilitator, guiding grassroots media projects in Colombia, Brazil, Perú, Chile and Ecuador. His documentary work has been deeply influenced by his community media work as well as his long-standing collaboration with grassroots organizations throughout the region. Juan’s directorial debut, a medium-length documentary “Uprooted,” about the life of a displaced Afro-Colombian family in the Pacific Coast of Colombia won a number of awards and played widely in film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. It was then aired on PBS as part of the Afro-Pop series.
In addition to directing “Death by a Thousand Cuts,” Juan has directed a number of short and long format documentaries around matters of forced displacement, ethnic autonomy, state violence, natural resources and other important human rights issues, which have played widely in the festival circuit and television. His latest film, the feature documentary “The Battle for Land,” winner of a production grant from the Colombian Ministry of Culture Cinema Fund and a post production grant from the Tribeca Film Institute is nearing completion and expects a 2016 premiere.
Juan has a BA in anthropology from Swarthmore College, an MA in Latin American Studies from UT-Austin and an MA in Social Documentary from UC- Santa Cruz.
The island of Hispaniola, shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, is a unique case study that explains how the exploitation of natural resources can directly affect the fate of a nation. That the two countries have starkly different trajectories is largely related to how they have historically managed their natural environment.