DOCUMENTARY DREAMS OF CHONTA
Dreams of Chonta is the story of Diego Obregon, an Afro-Colombian undocumented immigrant who is willing to sacrifice everything for his dreams. His talent and unheard rhythms from the Pacific coast of Colombia give him the recognition and the willpower to keep fighting in spite of living in the era of the broken and illusory American Dream. How far can a man go? Are poverty, segregation, poor education and a solitary life motors that keep Diego striving for his dreams, or factors that contribute to an inevitable failure?
With the 2016 elections putting Trump’s radical opinions and “America First” agenda front and center, immigration issues are as controversial a topic as ever. We aim to reach Americans, Latinos and other immigrants living in the U.S. by illustrating the immigrant’s struggle through an inspired musician’s tale. Now more than ever, Americans need to understand the stories of undocumented immigrants like Diego. There are more than 11 million people like him, and at least two thirds (66%) have been in the U.S. for over a decade. These people are woven into this society and as such, are important to this culture, the economy and the future of this country.
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 New York City. Monica moved to New York in 2010 and since then has collaborated in a wide variety of feature length and short documentaries as a Director, a Producer and also as 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. Recently she edited a new docu-series for HBO about a Latin American family in New York and moved to Boston where she is currently the editor of “Extraordinary Passage of the Great White Hunter”, a documentary that explores the life of Harold Coolidge and the birth of World Organizations for the preservation of species and climate change. This year she also edited “Fortress” an award winning short film featuring Amir Arison (Blacklist).
Jonathan Clasberry - Co-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.
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.
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.
Renato Milone - Composer
Renato Milone is a talented and experienced Drummer/Producer/Sound Engineer/instructor. He graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Contemporary Writing and Production. Prior Berklee, Renato graduated from La Universita della Musica in Rome in Drums Performance. Renato started his career in Italy teaching at the Music University in Rome as instructor of “l Drum set Principa”, and of Music Production classes. In the United States, he received a scholarship and recognition as “Best Producer in 2009” at Berklee. He collaborated in the production of CDs released by Compass Record for Target with Adi Yeshaya and Michael Becker (Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston) and produced various new artists from different parts of the world. Recently, Renato co-produced and was sound engineer for Whitney Houston’s new “Nothing But Love 2010 World Tour”.He is currently the Co-founder and Co-president of the audio and video production house The Boom House Productions and Full-Time Professor at Berklee College of Music in the Contemporary Writing and Production department.
Carol Kopelman - Consultant
As Associate Producer at Interlock Media, Carol is a Jill of all Trades, working on everything from
research and communications to community outreach and fundraising. Carol brings business, healthcare and international perspectives to her work. With an MBA in Marketing from Simmons College, Carol’s early career included nine months at the American Embassy in Bamako Mali and several years as an aerospace consultant in Cambridge, MA. After raising two wonderful kids and doing years of volunteer work in the public schools, Carol shifted gears. In 2012, she graduated from Boston University with a Master of Public Health in International Health with a concentration in health disparities and gender based violence. Building on her studies and her field work in domestic violence awareness in Kenya, she serves on the Board of Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence and freelances as an international health consultant.