Happy to announce that my award-winning short documentary film GRAFSTRACT: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance will screen THIS FRIDAY, September 2nd at the first edition of the Colombian Urban Art Film Festival in Bogotá. The film will screen in the 5pm-7pm block of films on Friday at the famed Cinemateca Distrital, one of Bogotá’s oldest independent film theaters.
The Colombian Urban Arts Film Festival will focus on screening audiovisual works that focus on urban art and artists from national and international filmmakers through various exhibitions throughout the city. A city with a rich (and infamous) history of graffiti and politically-charged street art.
Bogotá already had a thriving graffiti scene when in 2011, Diego Felipe Becerra, a 16-year-old street artist who called himself Tripido, was shot dead by police while painting pictures of Felix the Cat on the walls of an underpass. The police invented a story that the boy had robbed a bus and when this was proven untrue, the city came out in protest.
With all the negative media coverage, Gustavo Petro, then mayor of Bogotá, issued a decree to decriminalize graffiti and street art painting to help promote what was seen as a new form of artistic and cultural expression, but with the agreement that public buildings and monuments should remain free from graffiti.
Bogotá’s liberal attitudes have attracted some of the world’s top street artists but street art being what it is (Rules? Seriously?), it is still an uneasy peace that exists between graffiti/street artists and the authorities. Bogotá, however, remains one of the best places in the Americas for street art. So if you happen to love street art and find yourself in Bogotá this weekend, stop by and check out the films…
GRAFSTRACT: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance, a film I directed, shot and edited, was filmed in the Bronx, New York City, back in the summer of 2014 and tells the story of J. “SinXero” Beltran, Founder & Creative Director of TAG Public Arts Project. With the help of some of the world’s top street artists, SinXero’s mission of “Enhancing The Visual Landscape of Urban Communities with Art” is becoming a reality in the birthplace of graffiti, The Bronx. The film won the Best Street Art Film award at the 2015 New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles. The film made its NYC premiere at the 2016 Bronx International Film Festival and has also screened at film festivals in Spain, Sweden, Albania, Turkey, Mexico, Chile, Scotland, Romania, Colombia and India.