Alejandro Landes Echavarría

Alejandro Landes Echavarría is a visionary Colombian-Ecuadorian filmmaker who brings philosophic ideas to the screen through visceral, mesmerizing storytelling. His multicultural perspective deeply influences his work, which showcases his unique blend of poetic realism, political commentary and a commitment to storytelling that challenges conventions and pushes the boundaries of cinematic expression.

He has written, directed and produced three award-winning features: the visually stunning and emotionally intense political allegory MONOS (2019), a tale of child soldiers navigating the rugged landscapes of Latin America; a sensual portrait of a quadriplegic man in docufiction dramacomedy hybrid PORFIRIO (2011); and the vérité-style documentary COCALERO (2007) about Bolivia’s first Indigenous president. Each Landes Echavarría’s films examine complex, polarizing characters, and are marked by a lack of judgement or pity, instead showcasing raw, unfiltered humanity through enthralling stories that appeal to the audience’s conscience while invading the subconscious with their dreamlike quality.

Inspired by 60 years of disharmony in Columbia, MONOS is a surreal and stylish allegory about teenaged guerilla bandits in a South American jungle holding an American engineer hostage. A coming-of-age story as much as an unnerving psychological thriller, the film is bolstered by alluring landscapes, atmospheric cinematography and a haunting score, completely immersing the viewer in a brutal yet beautiful hypnotic nightmare.

The Guardian lauded MONOS as a five-star “APOCALYPSE NOW on shrooms”; Guillermo Del Toro called the film “mesmerizing” saying Landes Echavarría is “a powerful new voice in cinema”; and the Los Angeles Times declared it “a towering filmic achievement.” The film was recognized with more than 50 award nominations and won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award at Sundance, Best Film at San Sebastián International Film, the Cine Latino Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Best Director Premios Macondo 2021 at the Colombian Film Academy Awards, and Best Columbian Film at the Cartagena Film Festival, among many other top honors.

His docu-narrative hybrid PORFIRIO, based on the true story of Porfirio Ramírez – a man who was paralyzed by a stray police bullet, explores themes of disability, marginalization, and resilience in Colombian society. Starring the real-life Porfirio, the film depicts the indignities of the flesh, showing the title subject’s struggles of his broken body without offering judgment for the man’s sensational past as a wheelchair-bound hijacker. PORFIRIO premiered to great acclaim at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, going on to win Best Film at World Cinema Festival Amsterdam, The Grand Jury Prize at Festival de Biarritz, Best Film at Festivalissimo Montréal, and Best Director for Festival de Cine de la Orquídea, Cuenca, among many other accolades.

In documentary COCALERO, Landes Echavarría chronicled Evo Morales’s historical 80-day campaign, which saw him elected the first Indigenous president of Bolivia. A story of geopolitics, people’s movements, Indigenous culture, and one man’s impressive determination, COCALERO premiered at Sundance and went on to be an official selection at Official Selection: New York Human Rights Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, Festival Internacional de Guadalajara, Festival do Río de Janeiro, Munich Filmfest, BritDoc, Festival Internacional de Mar del Plata, Miami International Film Festival.

Landes Echavarría also designed the award-winning 20,000-sq ft modernist vision Casa Bahia, which sits on the waterfront of the southern Miami suburb Coconut Grove. With no formal architectural training, he approached the design of the three-story house as he does as a filmmaker: framing life and time in a way that connects the outside with what’s inside. Futher taking inspiration from his director’s eye, the house is composed of seemingly framed shots, long sightlines, a restrained color palette and a careful tension of symmetry and asymmetry. The home won the Architizer Popular Choice A+ Award in the Architecture + Water category and was listed for $50M in September 2016.

Landes Echavarría attended Brown University where he graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Political Economy. He is an alum of the Sundance Writer’s Lab and Director’s Lab, and of a resident at the Cinefoundation de Cannes.

Serial Pictures