Melina Leon is a Peruvian filmmaker based in New York City. "El Paraíso de Lili" (Lili’s Paradise), her thesis short film for Columbia University, officially premiered at the 47th New York Film Festival (2009) and has received three awards from the National Film Council of Peru as well as many other recognitions from international film festivals.
Melina’s first feature film project, "Song Without A Name,” is based on a true account of child trafficking that took place at the height of the political and economic crises in 1980’s Perú. The original script was co-written with novelist Michael J. White and it is in development by Belladonna Productions.
Her first short film "A 45 for the month’s expenses" (2000) won the first prize from the National Film Council in Peru and was screened at a special section at the Tampere Film Festival, Finland 2002. Her short "Girl with a walkman" (2006) was an official selection at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in 2007 and many more important Asian American festivals. This film was also broadcast by KTHE Public TV from San José, California.
Melina has also co-produced the film "Emigrant" (2008), the first medium-lenght film by Romanian director Florin Serban and made a sequence of videos for the musical play "Kiss of the Spider Woman" by the Peruvian director Gisela Cardenas.
As a film student, she received several fellowships through Columbia University, including the Hollywood Foreign Press Association grant.
Melina’s work aims to reflect on the ironies and cycles of life. Her inspiration comes above all from her socialist and otherwise unruly family, the collective theater group "Yuyachkani," and the Peruvian-Japanese poet José Watanabe, who told her to view films as a form of poetry.
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