Patricia Cardoso

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Patricia Cardoso
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Universidad de los Andes (Colombia) [1]
OccupationFilm director

Patricia Cardoso is a Colombian director, writer, and producer. She has directed The Water Carrier, Real Women Have Curves, Lies in Plain Sight, The Air Globes, Meddling Mom, Ro, La Clave, and El Paseo de Teresa.

Cardoso was the first Latina ever to win a Sundance Film Festival Dramatic Audience Award [3] and to receive a Student Academy Award.[4][5][6][7] She was invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in the Directors branch in 2017.[8][9] In 2018 Ava DuVernay tapped her to helm an episode of her acclaimed series Queen Sugar.

Early life[edit]

Cardoso grew up in Bogotá and from an early age enjoyed telling stories and making people laugh.[10][11] She wanted to be a writer like her fellow countryman and cultural hero Gabriel Garcia Marquez but creative writing studies did not exist in Colombia when she finished high school. As a child she wrote and illustrated home-made picture-books. Only when she became a film student at UCLA she realized these books were story boards.[10][11] Cardoso's first film was a humorous documentary titled Vacas Flacas y Vacas Gordas(Skinny Cows and Fat Cows) about the famine and feast periods her family endured. Due to the lack of technology in her household the film was made with toothpicks, paper, and cardboard.[10][11]


Cardoso earned an anthropology degree from Universidad de los Andes. As an anthropology student she traveled extensively throughout Colombia getting to know the diverse cultures of her country: African Colombian, Native Colombian, Mestizos, campesinos and city dwellers. She worked closely with Kogi indians at Ciudad Perdida. Cardoso says that these jobs along with frequent road trips with her family and friends deeply influenced her appreciation for Colombian popular culture.[10][11] As an archaeologist she found the oldest Carbon 14 date for the Tayrona culture at the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.[12]

While finishing anthropology studies Cardoso realized she wanted the stories she discovered to be known to a general audience, as the academic papers she published would only be read by a handful of people. Film and television were an obvious choice to reach a mass audience.[10][11]

Cardoso was the first Colombian to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for film and pursued this degree at the University of California at Los Angeles. While a film student at UCLA she earned the major directing awards of the school: the Colin Higgins Foundation Award in Film, the Lynn Weston Fellowship in Film, and the Verna Fields Award.

Cardoso credits her anthropology background with the respect she has for every character in her films, the depth and dimension of her characters development and for the rigorous research she does during pre-production to create reality and truthfulness in her movies.[10][11]


El Regalo[edit]

Written and produced by Dago García and directed by Cardoso, the film stars Cesar Mora, Ella Becerra, Javier Ramirez and Margalida Castro.

The Toymaker[edit]

Directed and produced by Cardoso the documentary film is about Horst Damme, a blind German toymaker, who has lived in Bogotá since 1936 when he arrived with his family as refugees from Nazi-Germany.

La Clave[edit]

Directed by Cardoso and written by Josefina Lopez the short film tells the story of a family faced with the mental illness of their daughter. The film stars Mariana Montes, Luis Enrique, and Ivette Gonzales. The film won the First Place Drama Short for the United Latino Film Festival, a Gold CINDY Award, a Robert Townsend Social Issues Award and Merit Special Mention at The Best Shorts Competition.[13]

Meddling Mom[edit]

Directed by Cardoso, written by Nina Weiman and produced by Frank Konigsberg and Patricia Clifford, Meddling Mom was the first Latino film ever made by Hallmark Channel. The film stars Sonia Braga, as Carmen Vera, a ceramics art dealer and meddling mother pursued by a charming dance professor played by Tony Plana. The film was nominated to an IMAGEN Award for Sonia Braga's strong performance. Carmen Vega is guilty of being a meddling mom. Her crimes include slipping into daughter Yolanda's home to leave behind "how-to" books on starting a family and manipulating daughter Ally into a doomed relationship with her best friend Marisol's son Pablo. Now Carmen Vega, notorious mother of good intentions, is about to get a crash course in butting out and maybe she'll even find a romantic life of her own. The film was shot on location at Jose Vera's Fine Arts and Antiques wonderful store in Eagle Rock.[14]


Cardoso directed a six-episode web series for Rodrigo García, John Avnet and Jake Avnet's YouTube channel WIGS. Ro, a young woman in parole, played by Melonie Diaz, goes to a speed dating bar trying to rebuild his life after prison. The series is written by talented Mattie Brickman and stars along Diaz William Mapother, Jonathan Tucker and Christopher Carley.[15]

Lies in Plain Sight[edit]

Cardoso directed the remake of the Israeli movie Out of Sight [fr; he]. Written by Teena Booth based on Noa Greenberg's script the film stars Rosie Perez, Martha Higadera, Chad Michael Murray and Benito Martinez. It was produced by Frank Konigsberg and Yan Fisher-Romanovsky for Sony Television and Lifetime. The story of Eva and her blind cousin Sofia (Martha Higadera), who were inseparable as children, with Eva the loyal companion who helped Sofia through her tough adolescent years. When Eva suddenly commits suicide, Sofia rushes home to her father, Hector (Benito Martinez), and Eva's parents, Marisol (Rosie Perez) and Rafael (Yul Vásquez), to find answers. But the more she delves into Eva's life, questioning her past boyfriend's Ethan (Chad Michael Murray) and Christian (Christoph Sanders), the more Sofia realizes that their childhood was actually filled with dark, disturbing secrets. The film received a NAMIC Vision Award, an IMAGEN Award for Martha Higadera's performance and was selected as Lifetime Movie of the Year in 2011. It was nominated to an NAACP Image Award for Rosie Perez's performance.[16]


Year Award Festival Nominated work Result
1990 Premio Mesquite Best First Work San Antonio CineFestival The Air Globes (Cartas al Niño Dios) Won
Premio Mesquite Best Short Film Won
Primer Premio Concurso Nacional de Cortometrajes Won
Premio Especial del Jurado Hernando Salcedo Silva Concurso Nacional de Cortometrajes [17] Won
1996 Festival Prize Black Maria Film and Video Festival The Water Carrier (El Reino de los Cielos) Won
Crystal Heart Award Heartland Film Festival Won
DGA Student Film Award Student Academy Awards[18] Won
Gold Medal Won
Grand Prize Angelus Student Film Festival Won
Golden Eagle Award CINE Won
Premio Mesquite Best Narrative San Antonio CineFestival Won
UNESCO Igualada Institut Català Award UNESCO Won
MacArthur Foundation Subtitling Grant Toronto International Film Festival Won
Ida Lupino Student Award Directors Guild of America Won
Harry Kurnitz Creative Writing Competition Dashew Center - UCLA Won
Golden Reel Award Motion Picture Sound Editors Nominated
2002 Audience Award Sundance Film Festival Real Women Have Curves Won
Grand Jury Prize Nominated
Premio Eroski de la Juventud (Youth Award) Festival de Cine de San Sebastián Won
Humanitas Prize Sundance Feature Film Humanitas Prize Won
Excellence in Filmmaking National Board of Review Won
Silver Plate Audience Choice Award Chicago International Film Festival Won
Excellence in Film Latino Spirit Award California State Legislature Won
Planned Parenthood Award Planned Parenthood Won
California Governor's Commendation Governor of California Won
2011 Best Creative Media Film Poppy Jasper Film Festival Deep Blue Breath Won
Best Young Actor for Clay Beabout Action on Film International Film Festival Won
Best Short Film Tampa Independent's Film Festival Won
2011 NAMIC Vision Award NAMIC Vision Award Lies in Plain Sight Won
Best Actor for Martha Higadera Imagen Awards Won
Movie of the Year Lifetime (TV Network) Won
Best Actor for Rosie Perez NAACP Image Awards Nominated
2013 Best Actor for Sonia Braga Imagen Awards Meddling Mom Nominated
2015 First Place Drama Short United Latino Film Festival La Clave Won
Gold CINDY Award CINDY Awards Won
CINDY Social Issues Award Won
Award of Merit Special Mention The Best Shorts Competition Won

Cardoso received:[19]

  • Smithsonian Institution Latino Recognition Award
  • Reconocimiento Fulbright a la Excelencia
  • UCLA Filmmaker Of The Year Honor
  • Hubert Bals Fund for Film Production - International Film Festival Rotterdam
  • Visionary Award LA Femme Film Festival
  • California Governor's Commendation


  1. ^ "Patricia Cardoso". UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. UCLA.
  2. ^ Buchanan, Jason. "Patricia Cardoso Biography". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  3. ^ Elvis Mitchell, Real Women Have Curves, The New York Times, March 22, 2002.
  4. ^ Oscar a Película Colombiana, El Espectador, Colombia, 29 de mayo de 1996, 1. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  5. ^ Juan Guillermo Ramirez, Hollywood premia a una colombiana, El Tiempo, 8 de junio de 1996. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  6. ^ Patricia Cardoso Semana, Colombia, 4 de junio de 1996. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  7. ^ Reina del Oscar La Prensa, Colombia, 30 de mayo de 1996. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  8. ^ Joey Nolfi, New Academy Members Speak on Diversity Push, Entertainment Weekly, July 3, 2017, online. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  9. ^ Ella Ceron, The Academy Announces Diverse Class of 2017 - but Is It Enough?, Teen Vogue, June 29, 2017, online. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  10. ^ a b c d e f Juan Sebastián Salazar, "El Oscar en la "Tierra del Olvido," El Espectador, 18 de febrero de 2016. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  11. ^ a b c d e f Daniel Grajales, "Patricia Cardoso, the owner of the Oscar (Patricia Cardoso, la dueña del Oscar)," El, 8 de diciembre de 2013, online. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  12. ^ "A Colombian in American cinema: Una colombiana en el cine americano," El Mundo, Medellín, Colombia, 13 de noviembre de 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  13. ^ What is La Clave?, La Clave, online. Retrieved: August 2, 2017
  14. ^ Meddling Mom, Hallmark Movies, online. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  15. ^ Ro, WIGS, online. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  16. ^ Lies in Plain Sight, IMDB, online. Retrieved August 2, 2017
  17. ^ "Cartas al Niño Dios," cortometraje ganador, El Espectador, Colombia, 25 de abril de 1991, 15.
  18. ^ Andrew Hindes, "Ex-archaeologist mines Oscar gold," Daily Variety, June 11, 1996.
  19. ^ Make A Film Foundation Mentor. Retrieved April 29, 2013

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