Barbara Cigarroa currently resides in New York City and is pursuing her MFA in Screenwriting at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She is the 2016 recipient of the Alex Sichel Fellowship, awarded to a promising female filmmaker in the program.
Her last short film, Marta Rosa, starring Mexican Ariel Winner Adriana Paz, has been an official selection at numerous film festivals around the world. These include The Austin Film Festival, The New Orleans Film Festival, The Athens International Film Festival, The NYC Short Film Festival, and The Palm Springs International Shortfest, where it won both the “Panavision Best North American Short Award” and the “Best Student Film Under Fifteen Minutes” for which Indiewire named it one of the “5 Essential Short Films” programmed at the festival. In addition to this, while studying at Columbia University, Barbara was a cowriter on the short film Pria, which was a finalist for the HBO Production Grant in 2015.
Prior to coming to New York, Barbara volunteered as a filmmaker for non-profit companies focused on fighting for underprivileged community’s rights. She created a promotional video for MexNet, a company that strives to find sound jobs for recent immigrants in the United States. She then traveled with the Emmaus Medical Mission to Guatemala where she created a video essay following the doctors working at a rural neurological center a and their fight to keep it. Before this, Barbara mentored under renowned documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (Salesman, Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter). Inspired by her time under Mr. Maysles, Barbara shot a short documentary, The Two Laredos, detailing the division caused by violence between her family’s border-town of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.
Barbara Cigarroa grew up in Texas with a large multi-cultural family who has roots both in the United States and in Mexico. This bi-national upbringing inspired Barbara to tell stories that deal with themes such as identity. A graduate from Yale University, Barbara received her BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She focused on studying fiction, publishing short stories in literary magazines, before moving on to exploring filmmaking.