Sebastián Lelio

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Sebastián Lelio
Sebastian Lelio.JPG
Born (1974-03-08) March 8, 1974 (age 43)
Mendoza, Argentina
Occupation Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer, Film editor

Sebastián Lelio (Mendoza, Argentina, March 8, 1974[1]) is an Argentinian-born Chilean film director, screenwriter, film producer and editor.

Early life[edit]

Lelio’s father is Argentinean, but he moved to Viña del Mar, Chile, as a child with his Chilean mother Valeria. He describes his early life as “nomadic”: “Up to the age of 21, I was moving between different cities in Chile. I lived for a time in the United States, and also in Viña del Mar; my maternal family is from Viña... essentially I was never more than two or three years in the same city”.[2] After some years in Viña, his mother moved to Concepción; later, they lived for one year in North America; from the age of 12 to 17 he lived in Cholguán.

Born with the surname Lelio, he changed his surname to that of his adoptive father, Campos; but after having attained some fame with his first film, Lelio again took his biological father’s name.[3]


After studying journalism for one year at Andrés Bello National University, Lelio graduated from the Chilean Film School (Escuela de Cine de Chile). He has directed many short films and musical videos. In 2003, he released Cero, a documentary based on unedited material from the 2001 September 11 attacks in New York, co-directing with Carlos Fuentes. He also directed two seasons of the successful documentary series Mi mundo privado (My private life) together with Fernando Lavanderos. The series followed the private lives of Chilean families from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and was nominated twice for the Altazor Awards and also the Emmy Awards.[4] [5]

In 2005, his debut feature film La Sagrada Familia (The Sacred Family) premiered at the San Sebastián International Film Festival. Filmed over three days and edited over a period of almost one year, the film screened in over one hundred festivals and received a number of national and international awards. In 2009, his second feature film, Navidad (Christmas), premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.[6]

The Year of the Tiger (Spanish: El Año del Tigre), Lelio’s third feature film, premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2011.[7] The film is set in the aftermath of the 2010 Chile earthquake and follows an escaped prisoner as he journeys through areas hit hardest by the quake.[8] As with his first two films, The Year of the Tiger explores religious faith and how it influences people’s behaviours. Says Lelio in an interview with The Clinic magazine: “What I find fascinating is the interplay between the question of meaning that religion poses - a basic question - with the fact that in Chile, in Latin America, the Judeo-Christian version of reality is dominant. Everything is defined in relation to this view: whether you are for or against it, whether or not you escape it.”[9]

Lelio’s fourth feature film, Gloria, won the San Sebastián International Film Festival Film in Progress award in 2012.[10] The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2013, to excellent reviews, with lead actress Paulina García receiving the festival’s prestigious Best Actress award.[11]

In his fictional work, Lelio favours the use of digital cinematography. Using scripts without dialogue, improvisation and montage work, he created the short films Ciudad de maravillas, Carga vital, and 2 minutos.

Lelio has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship[12] and a German DAAD grant to develop his new projects.

As a scriptwriter, Lelio has written or co-written all of his films (including short films), except The Year of the Tiger.


Feature-length films[edit]

Short films[edit]

  • 4, 1995
  • Cuatro, 1996
  • Smog, with Marialy Rivas, 2000
  • Fragmentos urbanos, 2002
  • Ciudad de maravillas, 2002
  • Carga vital, 2003
  • El efecto Kulechov, 2010


  1. ^ Sebastián Lelio. Retrieved 25 February 2013
  2. ^ Ernesto Garratt Viñes. Sebastián Lelio: Hacer 'Gloria' fue entrar a un mundo desconocido, Wikén magazine from El Mercurio, 01.02.2013; accessed 02.02.2013
  3. ^ Ernesto Garratt Viñes. Sebastián Lelio: Hacer 'Gloria' fue entrar a un mundo desconocido, Wikén magazine from El Mercurio, 01.02.2013; accessed 02.02.2013
  4. ^ Fernando Lavanderos y Sebastián Lelio. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  5. ^ “Mi mundo privado”, semifinalista de los premios EMMY. 24 September 2006. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  6. ^ Cineasta chileno presentó hoy en Cannes su película Navidad. La Tercera. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  7. ^ Mañana se exhibe el año del tigre en festival de Toronto. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  8. ^ Chile’s earthquake stars in new film by Sebastián Lelio. This is Chile. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  9. ^ Uno puede tener una relación religiosa con la realidad sin reducirse al problema de Dios. The Clinic online. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  10. ^ Films in Progress Awards. Sansebastiá Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  11. ^ Chilean Paulina García wins best actress at Berlin Film Fest. This is Chile. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  12. ^ Sebastián Lelio. Guggenheim fellowship. Retrieved 16 March 2013.

External links[edit]