I was born in Mexico City (and raised in the district of Coyoacan best known as Frida Kahlo's neighbourhood) where I studied Graphic Design at the Universidad Iberoamericana.
Two years later, my graphic design training was interrupted by a severe case of wanderlust so I decided to move to Europe.
For the next 2 years I worked as an Au Pair and as a mover while studying French at the Sorbonne.
When I watched the American remake of Godard's Breathless, my life changed. I decided to go to the U.S. and enrol in Film School.
I was accepted in San Francisco State University where I studied under Academy Award-Winning documentary filmmaker Ron Levaco.
Four years later, I graduated with a BFA with honours in cinema and a minor in psychology.
Fresh out of university, I got a job as Graphic Designer at Sidewalk.com, Microsoft's guide of specific cities and the first on-line service to compete with urban weekly newspapers.
I was responisble for the design of online ads. It was my first job in the advertising industry and I was hooked.
While working for Microsoft I realized that great design and great ads are about knowing people. Knowing what they need, what they want and what they aspire to.
In 1999 I decided to move to the Netherlands to pursue a Master's degree in sociology. My research, under the supervision of Doctor Abram de Swaan from the Univesiteit van Amsterdam, focused on the concept of identity formation in virtual communities.
I become fluent in Dutch by the second year and upon receiving my MA degree, I got my first job as Art Director at Dammar.
I was part of a group in charge of developing one of the first fully virtual work place in Europe. I led a group of seven people and two years later, the concept materialized: The YACHT Virtual Community launched as one of Europe's leading virtual networks of collaboration and knowledge.
Working in this project confirmed two things:
1) My three passions -design, film and sociology- could live harmoniously under the roof of advertising agencies.
2) In order to do great design being a sociologist comes in more handy than being a graphic designer.
After 4 years of living in Europe, I began missing the North American life style. I knew for months that my eventual return was inevitable.
I moved to Austin, TX where I worked as Art Director for Think Street. I got fully immersed in the American ad agency world. I worked with big clients like Time Warner and Wendy's and rolled out their national ad campaigns.
Unfortunately, living in Texas under George W. Bush during the tragic events of 9/11 didn't look like the America I had carefully idealized while living in Europe.
"What about Canada?" A Canadian friend suggested. Culturally similar to the U.S. yet politically less conservative, Canada looked like the perfect candidate for somebody who has spent his last four years in the socially progressive Netherlands.
In 2002 I packed my life in a U-Haul truck, drove to Toronto and haven't looked back ever since.
My first job in Toronto was at Hellin Marketing -an ad agency with several important clients like Scotiabank and Xerox.
Speaking Spanish came in handy and I was put in charge of the advertising and communication campaigns for Scotiabank's Latin American branches.
Up to this point my experience in film was limited to TV spots and interactive videos but in 2003 that changed. I started working on a documentary feature film about immigration. A few years later I finished it and in 2005 Wetback-The Undocumented Documentary screened in over 70 film festivals around the world and won seven International Awards.
The National Geographic Channel bought the rights to the film, translated it into 12 languages and broadcasted it in over 40 countries.
In 2005 I decided to start a company to produce more documentary works. To this day I have directed 5 five feature length docs and received over 15 international awards.
In 2007, for the first time in my advertising and marketing career, I took a 'client side' position. I was in charge of forming a creative group to fully rebrand one of Canada's oldest investing firms. The project lasted 3 years and it successfully repositioned IA Clarington- in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis- as a dynamic and reliable investing firm.
In 2009, two years after becoming a Canadian citizen, I was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts, making me the only Canadian to win the prestigious award that year.
In 2011, I was inducted into the Mexican Hall of Creators (SNCA), Mexico's foremost distinction for excellence in the arts.
Since 2010, I have worked as an independent Art Director, Filmmaker, Desinger for hire. I have worked with different clients from very different sectors -from Investing Companies to Art Galleries.
In the last 5 years, I have also had the pleasure to be a guest lecturer in several Universities. Most notably, at the Arizona State University, Columbia University, University of Toronto, Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, York University, St. Mary's College of Maryland and UC Berkeley.
I have also served as jury member for the Kinoki Film Festival, ImagiNative, DocsDF and twice for the Hotdocs International Documentary Film Festival.
A bit heavy but worth it! (1.5Mb)
If you prefer a more traditional way of communicating you can contact me at:
(416) 906-2166 or write me at: 141 Brock Avenue + Toronto ON + M6K 2L5 + Canada