"As a documentarian, I pursue facts, objectivity and fairness in representation, but as a film artist, I am drawn toward pushing the boundaries of documentary realism. Like many women artists and artists of color, I have grappled with the tension between social vision and artistic innovation. I have a long-standing interest in redefining what is "valuable" in art, and challenging prevailing notions about where legitimate artistic inspiration comes from. Who among us will make art that is worthy of being rewarded? Of being seen and discussed, funded, collected? To me, there is no high art or low art: invention comes from the most unlikely places."

Having written and directed dramatic films, made performance art videos and worked in multi-media theatre, Lourdes Portillo is best known as an independent documentary filmmaker who erases the lines between genres. A Chicana artist committed to social vision and artistic innovation, her films attempt to replicate ways of communicating among ordinary people by including their use of myth, gossip, telenovelas and melodrama, as well as through the unexpected silence, the overlooked gesture. Attentive as much to the problems of the medium, and alternative narrative strategies as to the complexities and representation of culture, Portillo's films exhibit a deeply felt, powerful, female authority.

   Born 1944 Chihuahua, Mexico
   Lives in San Francisco, California

   1985 M.F.A., San Francisco Art Institute
   1966 B.A., Los Angeles State College
1999 Corpus: A Home Movie For Selena
1994 El Diablo Nunca Duerme/The Devil Never Sleeps
1993 Mirrors of the Heart
1992 Columbus on Trial
1989 Vida
1988 La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead
1986 Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo
1999 National Endowment for the Arts, Organizational Grant, Film Arts Foundation
1997, 89, 87 Rockefeller Intercultural Film and Video Fellowships
1994 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
1992 National Endowment for the Arts, Inter-Arts Program
1989 National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Artists Fellowship
1999 Golden Spire, San Francisco Film Festival
1995 Golden Gate Award, San Francisco Film Festival
1990 Cine Golden Eagle
1986 Emmy Nomination, News and Documentary, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
1986 Academy Award Nomination, Best Documentary, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
1986 Special Jury Prize, Documentary, Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah
1986 Grand Prix Ex-Aquo, Certamen Internacional de Cine Documental y Corto Metrage, Bilbao, Spain
1998 Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California
1995 Desire, Disaster, Document, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
1995 New Directors/New Films, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York
1993 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1992 Will Power, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio
1990 Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, An Interpretive Exhibition of the Chicano Art Movement, 1965-1985, University of California Los Angeles, Wight Gallery, Los Angeles
1990 Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries, Mexico on Film, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York