Filmmaker Kristian Mercado Figueroa’s eclectic vision

Latinx filmmakers are paving the way when it comes to opportunities for inclusion. In an industry where we fight for our stories to be heard, seen, and green lit, Kristian Mercado Figueroa is giving us a glimpse of how powerful it is to have Latinos with vision, and the impact it makes. 

Kris Mercado Figueroa is a Puerto Rican filmmaker living in Spanish Harlem whose music-driven short film Pa’lante won the SXSW Jury Award 2019. 

Kristian Mercado

Reel 360 sat down with award winning director, Kristian Mercado Figueroa to discuss his eclectic career jump start from Fashion and Art Direction to the smooth transition into filmmaking. In our interview he shares how important close family dynamics translate into storytelling and inspiration, and movies that impacted his vision behind the lens.

Mercado’s distinct voice addresses issues of identity, family, and systemic oppression across race and class. His work is celebrated for its portrayal of working class struggles, highlighting love and loss. Mercado has directed content for Billie Eilish, Awkwafina, Bad Bunny, and Adult Swim, among others. He’s also directed comedy specials for Hannibal Buress, SNL’s Sam Jay and London Hughes for Netflix.

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His latest work won at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival for his short film Nuevo Rico for Best Animated Short. As well an Official Selection in 2020 with the Grammy-nominated music video Colors by Black Pumas and Hannibal Buress’s comedy special Miami Nights.

His short film Mariposa toured the 2020 film festivals with high acclaim. In 2019 Kris’s screenplay for his narrative feature film HawkBells received a screenwriting award from Slamdance. Recently his screenplay MELA was the recipient of a Cinereach grant and is currently in development.

You can stay updated on Kris Mercado’s groundbreaking Directorial releases at, Instagram @krismerc and Twitter.

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Jessica Velle reports on entertainment, politics, social media and stories relevant to the Latinx community. She can be reached at