About the team

Kristian Mercado Figueroa (Director, Writer) is a Puerto Rican filmmaker living in Spanish Harlem whose music-driven short film Pa’lante won the SXSW Jury Award 2019. Mercado has directed content for Billie Eilish, Awkwafina, Eric Andre, De La Soul, MF DOOM, Planned Parenthood, Bad Bunny, and Adult Swim, among others. He has also directed comedy specials for Hannibal Buress and SNL’s Sam Jay. His work was an official selection at SXSW 2020 with both a video for the Grammy-nominated Black Pumas and Hannibal’s Miami Nights. His latest short film Mariposa is touring 2020 festivals now. His screenplay for the short HawkBells received a screenwriting award from Slamdance. With work that has screened at numerous festivals (including New Orleans, Atlanta, SIFF, Havana Film Festival and more), Mercado’s distinct voice addresses issues of identity, family, and systemic oppression across race and class. His work is celebrated for its poetic portrayal of working class struggles, highlighting the gaps between love and loss.


Mela is a Cinereach grantee.

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