Frances Negrón-Muntaner: Award-winning filmmaker, Author & Founding director of the Media and Idea Lab/professor at Columbia University

My NativeAdVantage:


Frances Negrón-Muntaner is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, curator, scholar and professor at Columbia University, where she is the director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, founding director of the Media and Idea Lab, and founding curator of the Latino Arts and Activism Archive at Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. She is also a founding board member and former chair of NALIP, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, the largest Latino media organization in the nation. In 2008, the United Nations' Rapid Response Media Mechanism recognized her as a global expert in the areas of mass media and Latin/o American studies; and in 2012, she received the Lenfest Award, one of Columbia University's most prestigious recognitions for excellence in teaching and scholarship.
Negrón-Muntaner’s work spans multiple disciplines and practices, including cinema, literature, cultural criticism, and politics. Her publications include: Puerto Rican Jam: Rethinking Colonialism and Nationalism (1997), Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture (CHOICE Award, 2004), None of the Above: Puerto Ricans in the Global Era (2007), The Latino Media Gap: The State of Latinos in Media (2014), and The Latino Disconnect: Latinos in the Age of Media Mergers (2016). Among her films are Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican (1995 Whitney Biennial) and the recent Small City, Big Change (2013), War for Guam (2015), and Life Outside (2016).

What do you do best?

Tell stories about overlooked subjects and why they matter. 

What makes you the best?

I will not rest until it’s right.

What are your aspirations?

To free people to think beyond the given by sharing knowledge that has been ignored, suppressed, or distorted. 

Biggest Success?

Thriving in a world not made for you. 

Most Challenging Moment?

When it looked like I would not have enough support to finish my film War for Guam after nearly a decade of work, 

Favorite Motto?

To paraphrase Michel Foucault: People are freer than they think. 

Favorite People?

The four “m’s”: my wife Maggie, my sister Marianne, my dad Mariano and my mother. 

Favorite Places?

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico; Santa Monica, California, El Albaicín district in Granada, Spain and anywhere else with water, sun, and a joy for life.

Favorite Products?

72% dark chocolate.

Current Passions?

The worlds of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat and historian Arturo Alfonso Schomburg.ón-Muntaner/