Melina León

Abigail R. Cohen Fellow

San Blas

I will be writing San Blas, a film about a 10-year-old artist with epilepsy who is immersed in the religious syncretic culture of San Blas, a neighborhood in Cusco, Perú. My aim is to explore Andean culture, the relationship between art, religion, and colonialism, and how these define our present.

Part fiction and part documentary film, San Blas will be a meditation on the meaning of art and religion in people's lives. It will examine Catholicism in Perú, its rituals, devotees, and artists, looking at them in all their vitality and darkness; at the same time it will explore its syncretism with native pantheism, and how the two systems diverge and intertwine.

Melina León is a Peruvian film director. Her debut feature, Canción sin Nombre (Song without a Name), premiered at Cannes Director’s Fortnight 2019, becoming the first film by a Peruvian female filmmaker to be invited to Cannes. The film was nominated for Best Iberoamerican Feature at the Goya Awards 2022 and was Peru’s Oscar Entry for Best International Feature. Song without a Name has been selected in over 100 international film festivals and has won several awards including Best Director at the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Best Film at the Stockholm Film Festival, among others.

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