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Patricia Cardoso

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Patricia Cardoso

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Film directorScreenwriterProfessor

Real Women Have Curves, Lies in Plain Sight, Nappily Ever After

Alma mater
University of California, Los Angeles, University of Los Andes

Sundance Film Festival Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic

Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize - U.S. Dramatic

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El Clavo y Patricia Cardoso Invitada Film ShowCase

Patricia Cardoso is a Colombian-American film director, screenwriter and anthropologist. She has directed The Water Carrier, Real Women Have Curves, Lies in Plain Sight, The Air Globes, Meddling Mom, Ro, La Clave and El Regalo. She has won a Sundance Film Festival Dramatic Audience Award, a Student Academy Award, the Ida Lupino Directors Guild of America Award and a Humanitas Prize.


Cardoso was the first Latin American woman to win Sundance’s Audience Award and the first Colombian to receive an Academy Award with her student film The Water Carrier. She was invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in the Directors branch in 2017.

Award-winning Latina filmmaker brings Hollywood to UCR

Early life

Cardoso grew up in Bogotá and from an early age enjoyed telling stories and making people laugh. She wanted to be a writer like her fellow countryman and cultural hero Gabriel Garcia Marquez but creative writing studies did not exist in Colombia when she finished high school. Since elementary school through adulthood she often drew and wrote home-made picture-books. As a graduate film student at UCLA she realized these books were story boards. Cardoso’s first film was a humorous documentary titled Vacas Flacas y Vacas Gordas(Skinny Cows and Fat Cows) about the famine and feast periods her family endured. Due to the lack of technology in her household the film was made with toothpicks and cardboard.


Cardoso earned an anthropology degree from Universidad de los Andes. As an anthropology student she traveled extensively throughout Colombia getting to know the diverse cultures of her country: African Colombian, Native Colombian, Mestizos, campesinos and city dwellers. She worked closely with Kogi indians at Ciudad Perdida. Cardoso says that these jobs along with frequent road trips with her family and friends deeply influenced her appreciation for Colombian popular culture. As an archaeologist she found the oldest Carbon 14 date for the Tayrona culture at the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

While finishing anthropology studies Cardoso realized she wanted the stories she discovered to be known to a general audience, as the academic papers she published would only be read by a handful of people. Film and television were an obvious choice to reach a mass audience.

Cardoso was the first Colombian to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for film and pursued this degree at the University of California at Los Angeles. While a film student at UCLA she earned the major directing awards of the school: the Colin Higgins Foundation Award in Film, the Lynn Weston Fellowship in Film, and the Verna Fields Award.

Cardoso credits her anthropology background with the respect she has for every character in her films, the depth and dimension of her characters development and for the rigorous research she does during pre-production to create reality and truthfulness in her movies.

El Regalo

Written and produced by Dago García and directed by Cardoso, the film stars Cesar Mora, Ella Becerra, Javier Ramirez and Margalida Castro.

The Toymaker

Directed and produced by Cardoso the documentary film is about Horst Damme, a blind German toymaker, who has lived in Bogotá since 1936 when he arrived with his family as refugees from Nazi-Germany.

La Clave

Directed by Cardoso and written by Josefina Lopez the short film tells the story of a family faced with the mental illness of their daughter. The film stars Mariana Montes, Luis Enrique, and Ivette Gonzales. The film won the First Place Drama Short for the United Latino Film Festival, a Gold CINDY Award, a Robert Townsend Social Issues Award and Merit Special Mention at The Best Shorts Competition.

Meddling Mom

Directed by Cardoso, written by Nina Weiman and produced by Frank Konigsberg and Patricia Clifford, Meddling Mom was the first Latino film ever made by Hallmark Channel. The film stars Sonia Braga, as Carmen Vera, a ceramics art dealer and meddling mother pursued by a charming dance professor played by Tony Plana. The film was nominated to an IMAGEN Award for Sonia Braga’s strong performance. Carmen Vega is guilty of being a meddling mom. Her crimes include slipping into daughter Yolanda’s home to leave behind “how-to” books on starting a family and manipulating daughter Ally into a doomed relationship with her best friend Marisol’s son Pablo. Now Carmen Vega, notorious mother of good intentions, is about to get a crash course in butting out and maybe she'll even find a romantic life of her own. The film was shot on location at Jose Vera’s Fine Arts and Antiques wonderful store in Eagle Rock.


Cardoso directed a six-episode web series for Rodrigo García, John Avnet and Jake Avnet’s YouTube channel WIGS. Ro, a young woman in parole, played by Melonie Diaz, goes to a speed dating bar trying to rebuild his life after prison. The series is written by talented Mattie Brickman and stars along Diaz William Mapother, Jonathan Tucker and Christopher Carley.

Lies in Plain Sight

Cardoso directed the remake of the Israeli movie Out of Sight. Written by Teena Booth based on Noa Greenberg’s script the film stars Rosie Perez, Martha Higadera, Chad Michael Murray and Benito Martinez. It was produced by Frank Konigsberg and Yan Fisher-Romanovsky for Sony Television and Lifetime. The story of Eva and her blind cousin Sofia (Martha Higadera), who were inseparable as children, with Eva the loyal companion who helped Sofia through her tough adolescent years. When Eva suddenly commits suicide, Sofia rushes home to her father, Hector (Benito Martinez), and Eva's parents, Marisol (Rosie Perez) and Rafael (Yul Vásquez), to find answers. But the more she delves into Eva's life, questioning her past boyfriend's Ethan (Chad Michael Murray) and Christian (Christoph Sanders), the more Sofia realizes that their childhood was actually filled with dark, disturbing secrets. The film received a NAMIC Vision Award, an IMAGEN Award for Martha Higadera’s performance and was selected as Lifetime Movie of the Year in 2011. It was nominated to an NAACP Image Award for Rosie Perez’s performance.


Cardoso also has received these awards and distinctions

  • Smithsonian Institute Latino Recognition Award
  • Reconocimiento Fulbright a la Excelencia
  • UCLA Filmmaker Of The Year Honor
  • Hubert Bals Fund for Film Production - International Film Festival Rotterdam
  • Visionary Award La Femme Film Festival
  • California Governor's Commendation
  • References

    Patricia Cardoso Wikipedia