Raissa Contreras is a filmmaker & artist living in Baltimore. She has an MA in Film & Video from Maryland Institute College of Art & an MFA in Painting from University of New Mexico. She has taught film and media studies in the Electronic Media & Film Department at Towson University and art & art history at Maryland Institute College of Art, Towson University and Goucher College. She served on the selection committee for Le Petit Cannes Film Festival this May 2018 and the Baltimore Women's Film Festival in 2009.
Her work has exhibited nationally & internationally. Her paintings, photographs and film stills have exhibited in New York, LA, Baltimore, Washington DC, and New Mexico and are in private collections across the country. Her most recent film Jaime & the Tamales premiered in LA and rec'd Best Cinematography for Short Doc with the Silicon Beach Film Festival in April 2018. It screened in NY with NewFilmmakers NY at the Anthology Film Archives last fall. Porkchop and the 28th St North Carolina Watermelons rec'd the Audience Award with the Silicon Beach Film Festival Miami in Feb 2018. It also rec'd the Special Jury Award at the Southern Colorado Film Festival and screened in NY with Bushwick FF in October 2017. Her films have also shown with LA Cinefest, MoMA, LACDA, the Short Film Corner at the Cannes FF, the Short to the Point FF, Bucharest, Romania, the Puerto Madero Int'l FF, the Cutting Room at the Nottingham Playhouse, UK, Experiments in Cinema, the New York Short FF, the Short FF of Los Angeles, the Golden Gate Documentary & FF, & the Festival du Cinema de Paris.
What do I do best?
Live and make art on a very tight budget
What makes me the best version of myself?
Sense of humor, resilience, and adaptability
What are my aspirations?
Continue to make paintings, films, photos, travel, learn & teach new things
My Biggest Success?
A lot of my big successes relate to what I’ve managed to pull off on a budget of nothing including my degrees, my house, art, film, travel.
My Most Challenging Moment?
A huge challenge was returning for my 2nd masters in digital art. Film was my way in and it has been a major part of my life and work since.
Look for the magic in the everyday. Live & let live.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Wonder Woman, Charlies Angels, Hillary, Dolores Huerta, my mother and grandmother and then art-ists like Frida Kahlo and Agnes Varda. I like men too! Fellini, Jacques Tati, Jonathan Richman, my father. And so many unsung heroes - ordinary people - the subjects of my films.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I agree with Anthony Bourdain that there are so many wonderful places to see and I have barely scratched the surface. But NYC, Paris, Venice (Italy and CA). Some of my favorite places are behind my house in Baltimore.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
A few are my 1998 Honda, Brewer’s Art Resurrection, Deer Park Spring Water 2 for $2 at the 7-11, Kodak film.
My Current Passions?
Making films!!! So many films to make so little time. I have a passion for immortalizing that which is so rapidly being forgotten or destroyed. I’m very passionate about celluloid and keeping it around.