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Playing with a Feature
MELA is playing with MANUELA

Date Location Time Tickets
Thursday, June 1, 2023 TCL Chinese Theaters Auditorium 3 6:45 PM PDT BUY TICKETS


Directed by Kristian Mercado

USA | 12 min | 2022

As a young mother and aspiring reggaeton dancer, Mela must navigate the challenges of balancing family while fighting to pursue her dreams.

Mela is a headstrong dancer and single mother, balancing motherhood and her dreams. After she has an argument with her child's teacher, Mela is forced to navigate the day with her daughter, trying her best to make it in time for an important audition. "Mela" is the story of every young Latina who struggles to define their role in society, both as a mother and as a person fighting for her dreams, all in the backdrop of a gentrifying Spanish Harlem.
Director Photo
Kristian Mercado Figueroa is a filmmaker from Spanish Harlem. Mercado's distinct voice addresses issues of identity, family, & systemic oppression. His psychedelic reggaeton futurist short film, "Nuevo Rico" won the Animation Jury Award at SXSW 2021, and in 2019 his shortfilm/music video "Pa'lante" won a Jury Award at SXSW. In 2020 his screenplay Hawkbells won several screenwriting awards including Slamdance's Screenwriting Award. He has been the recipient of awards and grants from Cinereach (2020) and McKnight Foundation (2019) for his feature and short work.
Type of Film Short
Country of Origin USA
Year Film Was Completed 2022
Runtime 12 min
Social media Handles @melafilm, @krismerc
Director Kristian Mercado
Produced by Debora Perez, Andrew Nisinson, Jenn Zarr, Meilin Gray
Written by Kristian Mercado
Cinematography Alejandro Mejia
Edited by Reuter, Kristan William
Music by Keysokeys, IFE
Sound Design Joshua Madoff
Art Direction Sophia Scalzo
Main Cast Mela Murder, Summer Castillo, Caridad De La Luz, Sharlene Cruz