DOCUMENTARY DREAMS OF CHONTA
DREAMS OF CHONTA follows the story of Diego Obregon, an Afro-Colombian musician who came to the United States 16 years ago in search of his dreams. He made the ultimate sacrifice by leaving his family behind and living a solitary life.
This is not just another immigrant story focused on terror, inequity and policy; this is a story about the hopes and dreams of an artist, the only ambassador of his music and his culture in NYC. People have never been this close to the life of an undocumented immigrant who's struggles go beyond himself and his family to create a bridge between 2 worlds. This story honors the wealth and the ripples of change that immigration creates.
The film is driven by Diego's musical talent, the heartbeat of the Pacific coast of Colombia, filled with the marimba of Chonta, the Cununo and the Bombo drums, rarely heard outside of his region. Over the course of 10 years, we follow Diego in New York and his family on the other side of the continent giving a unique and intimate view of the immigrant experience. The viewer is transported through extreme contrasts on a journey of a man determined to change his life against all odds.
Monica Cohen - Director/Producer
Passionate Colombian filmmaker and music composer dedicated to social documentaries focusing on art and culture, Monica is the owner and founder of The Boom House Productions, a video and music production house based in Boston, MA. Monica moved to New York in 2010 and since then has collaborated in a wide variety of video and film projects as a Director, a Producer, DP and sometimes even as a sound mixer and a music composer. She has also worked in film distribution for dGenerate Films, as an assistant producer for Cine Institute and Crowing Roosters, and as an editor for Stick Figures and Big Fish Entertainment. She co-produced MY NAME IS PEDRO, an award winning documentary film that premiered in Woodstock Film Festival in 2016. She moved to Boston where she Directed and Produced BOSTON'S LATIN QUARTER (2019), a short documentary film about the importance of the preservation of cultural enclaves within a city. Monica's first award winning feature documentary film DREAMS OF CHONTA (2020), a story about the hopes and dreams of a talented musician from the Pacific coast of Colombia living undocumented in NYC, has been selected in multiple film festivals in the US and Latin America. Recently, Monica was one of the co-directors of CONNECTIONS:NO ONE IS AN ISLAND, a global multi-media interactive story about the connections and experiences people shared throughout the pandemic, a project that made it's debut at CPH:DOX in April 2021. Monica continues to create powerful pieces rooted in storytelling sparking important conversations that put culture and art in the center of social transformation and human connection.
Cecilia Prestamo - Editor
Cecilia Préstamo is a Boston based video editor with more than 20 years of experience in documentary photo-journalism. A first generation Cuban exile, she started her career as a classical pianist. She went on to craft stories as a newspaper photojournalist, photo editor, projects editor, and video editor. This diverse background provides a unique skillset for her work as a video editor in documentary and narrative projects.
Jonathan Clasberry - Associate Producer
Jonathan began his film career in his hometown of Austin, Texas where he co-founded Benberry Media. After producing a number of projects and short films he moved to New York City in 2011. His recent work includes Alive Inside, a documentary about music and Alzheimer’s, and the winner of the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance film festival; North Blvd, an indie feature starring Amy Esacove and Mackenzie Phillips; as well as a variety of producing roles on multiple documentary series for CNN, A&E, Telemundo, and Lifetime. He works and resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Paola Mendoza - Consultant
Award winning filmmaker and social activist Paola Mendoza was born in Colombia and lives in New York City where she works as an actress, screenwriter, author and director. As a director she was named one of Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She has directed both short and feature length films, ENTRE NOS, HALF OF HER, AUTUMN'S EYES, and LA TOMA have been embraced by the most prestigious film festivals around the world. Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Berlinale, Tribeca Film Festival, Full Frame and South By Southwest have all supported Paola was a nominee for the 2008 & 2010 NALIP Estel Awards, given to Latino filmmakers that show extraordinary promise in the field of directing. Paola is also a fierce advocate for immigration laws and the rights of immigrants in the US.
WATCH THE FILM WITH YOUR LIBRARY CARD IN THE US
If you live in the US and you have a Public Library card you can watch DREAMS OF CHONTA!!!!
Kanopy chooses 5 films to highlight in their news letter they send to public libraries every week and we were chosen.
Just follow this link:
October 12, 2020
Dreams of Chonta is part of the 12th edition of the Seattle Latino Film Festival. "Each year, the Festival includes international filmmakers, producers and actors in the festival with the specific purpose to engage the Seattle community in conversations that share cross cultural perspectives and to create a forum for the ideas being explored, many of which are integral to the experience of "Latinidad."
If you're in Washington State, check it out, they have a wonderful lineup!!!
QUE DESCANSES EN PAZ DIEGUITO...
July 11, 2020
Today we lost a beautiful soul. Diego, thank you for letting me into your life, thank you for showing me the world from which you come from. Thank you for teaching me a different rhythm in life, a humbleness that comes with hard work and incredible perseverance, the unbreakable spirit and the bond of true love.
THE MOVIE IS DONE!!
December 20, 2019
What an amazing journey making this movie has been! After 10 years in the making I can't say this has been easy at all but I can say this: I 've definitely grown professionally and personally crafting Dreams of Chonta and uncovering the layers that Diego and his family have; their resilience, their positive attitude towards life, their commitment to art and music and the impact they've had in their communities... You guys embody what it takes to be an immigrant, thank you for opening a window into your world for us to see and learn.
Now let's show this film to the world! We're starting to apply to film festivals hoping we can premiere in NYC who knows what the future holds for us. Thank you to all of you who have supported this project since the beginning, this post is for you.
HERE WE COME NYC: Last 4 days of production!!!
December 18, 2017
We will interview artists, musicians and cultural activists in NYC that can speak to the great influence Diego Obregon had on the musical scene in this city.
Applied to LEF Foundation - Moving Image Fund Grant
January 15, 2023
We're reaching out to push our documentary forward. We will need great financial support to complete our last stage of production and start post-production.
February 22, 2023
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. We want to hear your story. If you're an immigrant, if you're interest in Afro-Colombian music or if you know Diego Obregón, please share with us.
The crew will be traveling to Cali - Colombia!
April 02, 2020
We will be traveling to visit Diego reunited with his family in Cali. We'll hear Francho and Michelle's music band Black Diamond as they perform with their dad and revolutionize the music of the pacific coast with Hip Hop sounds.