La Bonga

On April 5, 2001, shortly after a nearby massacre at the hands of right-wing paramilitaries, two hooded strangers entered the farming town of La Bonga and delivered a letter. The note accused the town of sympathizing with the FARC, the largest guerrilla group in Colombia. The people were given 48 hours to either leave or be forcibly removed. And so, the entirety of La Bonga–150 families–fled that same day. Most resettled in nearby towns that are each an arduous 3-hour walk away from their former homes.

Over time, the jungle that surrounded their town swallowed it whole. There exists little more than memories; an entire generation knows only of their birthplace through the stories of their parents and grandparents. Many see La Bonga as a mythical land that has vanished.

Nearly twenty years later, prompted by the tenuous Colombian peace agreements and led by the only person who has attempted to live there again–María de los Santos––the townspeople decide to resurrect a festival honoring their patron saint, Santa Rosa. The festival acts as a vehicle to bring people together in La Bonga for the first time since their displacement. Yet, to make it a reality, they must confront the jungle to reclaim their home while attempting to reconstruct a place that no longer is.



Cinéma du Réel
March 27, 2023
International Prix du Patrimoine Culturel Immatériel, Prix Loridan-Ivens/Cenap for best first feature

Cinelatino Francia
March 28, 2023
Prix Documentaire Rencontres de Toulouse

Film Stills

Image Caption: Featured image for ‘La Bonga’. Image Caption: Featured image for ‘La Bonga’.


La Bonga (2023)

Feature (87mins) Documentary






No Rating


Gabriella Garcia-Pardo


Sebastián Pinzón Silva | Canela Reyes


Sat 23 Sep 2023, 3.00pm, MovieTowne, POS—Screen 09

T+T Premiere, Caribbean Premiere

Sebastián Pinzón Silva

Sebastián Pinzón Silva

Sebastián Pinzón Silva is a Colombian documentary filmmaker. He studied film and television at the Savannah College of Art and Design and a master’s degree in documentary media at Northwestern University in Chicago. His work has been screened at festivals such as Locarno, True / False, FICCI, SFFILM, New Adventures in Non-Fiction (Museum of the Moving Image), RIDM, and New Directors / New Films (MoMA and Film at Lincoln Center). His short film “Palenque” won Best Latin American Short Film at FICValdivia in 2017, and was also awarded by Cinélatino Rencontres de Toulouse, Belo Horizonte, Palm Springs ShortFest and the Panorama of Colombian Cinema in Paris.

Sebastián is a Sundance Documentary Fellow and one of 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema in the United States by Filmmaker Magazine in 2019. In addition to his work as a director, he has worked in other areas of documentary production, such as camera and editor for National Geographic, assistant editor for MINDING THE GAP (2019 Oscar Nominee), and editor for the Comisión de la Verdad in Colombia. Sebastián is also co-founder of Video Consortium Colombia, a global network of support and connection between filmmakers.

Canela Reyes

Sebastián Pinzón Silva

With a background in anthropology and literature, Canela Reyes has worked as a director, screenwriter, and researcher on films and community development projects around Colombia. Her documentaries and hybrid features portray stories of conflict, imagination, death, and memory. Her projects have screened at festivals including CPH:DOX, DocsBarcelona, ​​FICCI, Global Cinema Boston, Documenta Madrid, L’Alternativa, and DOKer Russia.

Canels is the co-writer, researcher, and co-producer on the film “Lapü” (Sundance, Berlinale 2019) and the co-director of four upcoming features: “La Bonga,” “Las Almas Ni los Ojos,” “Gigante,” and “Calma.” Her recent work has been supported by Sundance Insitute, Catapult Film Fund, FDC, Visions du Reel, and Story Syndicate among others. In addition, Canela co-directed Omí VR, a virtual reality experience around afro-colombian santería, participated in the Afro Religious Systems Group, and co-founded the Video Consortium Colombia, a global network of support and connection between filmmakers.

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