La Bonga

Nearly twenty years after fleeing the violence of civil war, a displaced community embarks on a symbolic journey through the jungles of northern Colombia to resurrect a home that exists only in their memory.

Shortly after a nearby massacre at the hands of paramilitaries, two hooded strangers entered the farming town of La Bonga and delivered a letter. The note accused the townspeople of sympathizing with the FARC, the largest guerrilla group in Colombia. They were given 48 hours to either leave or suffer the same fate as their neighbors. The entirety of La Bonga––120 families––fled that same night. 

Nearly twenty years later, the mud hut homes that once made up the town have been swallowed whole by the jungle. There exists little more than memories; many see La Bonga as a mythical land that has vanished. 

As Colombia attempts to move forward through a tenuous peace process, the Bongueros decide to organize a symbolic return. The community will go back to La Bonga for the first time since the displacement to resurrect the celebration of their patron saint, Santa Rosa de Lima. They will battle the wilderness to reclaim their land while searching for the meaning of home.

Status

Production

About the Filmmakers

Director

Sebastián Pinzón Silva
Sebastián Pinzón Silva

Sebastián Pinzón-Silva is a Colombian nonfiction filmmaker and photographer. He holds a degree in Film and Television from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a master’s degree in Documentary Media from Northwestern University. From working as an Assistant Editor for Minding the Gap to shooting and editing a short film for National Geographic Magazine, Sebastián has worked on various areas of documentary production and post-production. His directorial work has screened at various festivals including Locarno, True/False, Cartagena, SFFILM, Camden, Toulouse, New Orleans, and New Directors/New Films. Sebastián is a Sundance Documentary Fellow, a Kartemquin DVID fellow, and one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

Producer

Gabriella Garcia-Pardo
Gabriella Garcia-Pardo

Gabriella Garcia-Pardo is a Colombian-American documentary producer and cinematographer drawn to stories of home, identity, and belonging. Although primarily focused on supporting independent filmmakers, Gabriella has contributed to projects on Showtime, Netflix, National Geographic, Moxie Pictures, and TIME, among others. While on staff as a one-woman-band at National Geographic's News and Magazine unit, Gabriella produced more than 60 short-form documentaries. During her time on NPR's music team, she filmed and edited pieces for over 150 musicians. Before moving to Washington, DC Gabriella designed an intensive summer film program for high school students at Yale, and led horse treks through Chile. She is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design and is the founder and director of the DC chapter of the Video Consortium.