Juan Carlos Zaldívar

Juan Carlos Zaldívar

Britdoc Foundation

Animator, director and editor in Los Angeles, California

About Juan

Cuban-born, Zaldívar lives and works in the United States. Zaldivar completed both his BFA and a Masters of Fine Arts at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he has also taught as an adjunct faculty. He tenured as full-time faculty at Miami International University's Institute of Art and Design.

Zaldívar started his film career as a sound editor and designer, his work can be heard in Academy Nominated films such as Ang Lee's "Sense and Sensibility;" "On the ropes" and on HBO’s America Undercover, for which he garnered an Emmy nomination.

His film and video art works have screened at many festivals worldwide and broadcast on PBS, ABC, IFC, Showtime and WE. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards. His directing credits include "90 Miles" (PBS), "The Story of the Red Rose" (Showtime), "Palingenesis" and "Soldiers Pay" (IFC), co-directed with David O. Russell (Three Kings, The Fighter) and Tricia Regan (Autism, the musical).

He has served as a Juror for several mayor film festivals including the Sundance International Film Festival. He is a Sundance Film Institute alumnus. He has recently co-founded the Miami Filmmakers Collective with a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Art Challenge grant and a matching grant from the Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

He is presently associate producer/cinematographer of the Virtual Reality short film “A History of Cuban Dance” (Sundance 2016; VRSE app) and associate producer of the anticipated follow up feature to the Academy Nominated documentary “The Buena Vista Social Club" currently entitled "Buena Vista Social Club: Adiós.”

Name: Juan Carlos Zaldívar

Lives in: Los Angeles, California

Company: Britdoc Foundation

Occupation: Animator, Director, Editor, Producer and Screenwriter

Unique traits: Ask me a question and I'll tell you no lies.


  • Alterations

    Alterations (2014 - 2016)
    Film (Comedy, Family and Short) Director, Producer, Writer, Editor Journey of a young transgender woman as she sets out to meet her amnesic mother for the first time as a woman.

  • Buena Vista Social Club: Adios

    Buena Vista Social Club: Adios (2016)
    Film (Documentary) Asociate Producer Follow the five remaining original members of the Buena Vista Social Club on their farewell world tour.

  • Shift

    Shift (2012)
    Film (Fantasy, Animation and Short) Director, Writer, Editor, Snd Design SHIFT follows the life of a character who is born from a tree and weaves a female skin out of leaves. Attracted by a distant cry, the character wonders out to find the source of the song but it is frightened and returns home. Later that night, its face is stolen by a wild dog. The character is left wandering the landscape reflecting its environment and looking for home, with a mirror in place of its face. The character's vision returns, however, in an unsuspecting turn of events. SHIFT as a short film poem inspired by human search for identity (personal, cultural or otherwise) and the beauty of transforming loss. Using stop-motion, the film is constructed of over 10,000 photographs taken over a year and a half. Written by Anonymous

  • Video Origami 1

    Video Origami 1 (2011)
    Video (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Music, Animation and 1 More) Director, Producer, Writer, Editor A celebration of the fantastic use of math, geometry and negative space in the building 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, developed by Robert Wennet and designed by Herzog & Memeuron. original music by Andy Brick from the film 'The Story of the Red Rose' by Juan Carlos Zaldivar The sound design that accompanies this animation also makes use of negative space by overlaying a duplicate of the same musical composition in reverse and bringing it to the surface at key moments in the video. The video was animated entirely from photos taken with an iPhone using various computer programs including a custom morphing software. Written by Anonymous

  • Mal de horror

    Mal de horror (2010)
    Film (Fantasy and Short) Director, Producer, Writer, Editor 'Mal de horror (Horror Sickness)' is a meditation on texts from the 19th century novel 'Les Chants de Maldoror' written by the Comte de Lautreamont, the pseudonym of Isidore Lucien Ducasse and sited by many surrealist masters, including Dali, Bunuel and Cocteau as their inspiration. This short film draws parallels on the power of art to move the human spirit and on the dichotomy in the repercussions of such power. In an era where video technologies are widely available and constantly expose and even invade our privacy, has the responsibility of the maker to its subject(s) changed? Written by Anonymous

  • Monica & David

    Monica & David (2009)
    Film (Documentary) Cinematographer, Sound department Explores the marriage of a young couple with Down syndrome, and the family who strives to support their needs.

  • Sexi

    Sexi (2009)
    Film (Short) Director, Producer, Writer, Editor Body-building steroids, a dangerous date and a drag queen's funeral are woven together with provocative interviews to raise some pertinent questions about our relationship to our bodies and our current attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. SEXI is a fiction film with real events in it. The project was shot on DVCAM video and it grew out of an ongoing workshop involving local Miami actors, performance artists and activists. Instead of following a traditional screenplay, SEXI was developed through improvisations and exercises where each actor created a fictional character using material from research conducted by the director, Juan Carlos Zaldivar, as well as with their personal input. The film mixes camera work by the actors themselves with actual documentary footage of events that went on in the Miami Beach community from 2004 to 2007. Like the unavoidable generational rift that parents and their children must confront (even when they get along), the AIDS epidemic has come of age. What are the ... Written by Juan Carlos Zaldivar

  • Marti and I

    Marti and I (2009)
    Video (Comedy, Fantasy, Romance and Short) Director, Producer, Writer, Editor Tearing the symbolism and power of the iconic figure away from the intractable reality of machismo in Latin culture, "Marti and I" gives us an important reinterpretation of Cuba's most famous political and literary icon in order to rescue the man behind it. Written by Kade Crockford, Miami and Ft.Lauderdale Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

  • In the Life

    In the Life (2008)
    Television (Documentary) Producer Add a Plot »

  • P.O.V.

    P.O.V. (2008)
    Television (Documentary) Cinematographer Add a Plot »

  • Election Day

    Election Day (2007)
    Film (Documentary) Producer, Cinematographer Forget the pie charts, color-coded maps and hyperventilating pundits. What's the street-level experience of voters in today's America? In a triumph of documentary storytelling, ELECTION DAY combines eleven stories--all shot simultaneously on November 2, 2004, from dawn until long past midnight--into one. Factory workers, ex-felons, harried moms, Native American activists and diligent poll watchers, from South Dakota to Florida, take the process of democracy into their own hands. The result: an entertaining, inspiring and sometimes unsettling tapestry of citizens determined on one fateful day to make their votes count. Written by Anonymous

  • Wife Swap

    Wife Swap (2005 - 2006)
    Television (Romance and Reality-TV) Director, Writer Two wives, from two very different families, swap lives for two weeks. One week in the life of the host family, the other week forcing the family to live her lifestyle.

  • Single in the City: South Beach

    Single in the City: South Beach (2004)
    Television (Romance and Reality-TV) Director, Producer, Cinematographer Add a Plot »

  • Soldiers Pay

    Soldiers Pay (2004)
    Film (Documentary, War and Short) co-Director, Producer Filmmakers Tricia Regan, David O. Russell and Juan Carlos Zaldivar interview dozens of people about the 2004 Iraq war, including soldiers, journalists, politicians, psycholgists, and even a two star general that led the Marines to victory in the first Gulf war. Soldiers Pay listens to people from all sides, and of varying opinions, giving a full picture of a morally ambiguous war which is exacting an enormous toll on our soldiers, on Iraq, and on America. Written by Anonymous

  • Red Betsy

    Red Betsy (2003)
    Film (Drama, Family and Romance) Sound department A close-knit Midwestern farm family deals with loss, change, and social progress during the 1940's.

  • Face

    Face (2002)
    Film (Drama) Sound department Genie, a Chinese-American teenager, develops feelings for a charming African-American DJ, but her grandmother forbids their romance forcing Genie to choose between family and love.

  • La tropical

    La tropical (2002)
    Film (Documentary) Writer Documentary follows musicians, dancers and patrons both inside and outside the Salón Rosado Benny Moré, depicting with unbiased realism the struggles of daily life in today´s Havana.

  • 90 Miles

    90 Miles (2001)
    Film (Documentary) Director, Producer, Writer Having grown up within the Cuban Revolution, in 1980, Juan Carlos Zaldívar was a 13-year-old "pioneer" jeering in the streets at the thousands of "Marielitos" leaving the island by boat for the United States. Within weeks, he was a Marielito himself, headed with the rest of his family for a new life in Miami. Now a U.S.-based filmmaker, Zaldívar recounts the strange twist of fate that took him across one of the world's most treacherous stretches of water in 90 Miles, a new documentary having its broadcast premiere on PBS's acclaimed P.O.V. series in the summer of 2003. As related by Zaldívar in the intensely personal and evocative 90 Miles, arrival in South Florida is only the beginning of the family's struggles to comprehend the full meaning of their passage into exile. What follows is an intimate and uneasy accounting of the historical forces that have split the Cuban national family in two, and which shape the passage of values from one generation to the next. Written by Cynthia Lopez

  • Girlfight

    Girlfight (2000)
    Film (Drama and Sport) Sound department At 18, Diana has a chip on her shoulder; she's close to expulsion from high school for fighting, her mother is dead, her dad is surly, the popular girls at school set her teeth on edge, she knows men can cause pain. When she picks up her younger brother at a Brooklyn gym where he boxes to please his father, she decides she wants to train. Hector, a coach, reluctantly agrees to teach her. It's soon clear to him that Diana has talent; he pushes her. She spends time with another young fighter, Adrian, who has a girlfriend, but Diana intrigues him and stirs real feelings he tries to articulate. She, too, must accommodate her toughness and ironic detachment to her feelings for him. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

  • On the Ropes

    On the Ropes (1999)
    Film (Documentary, Drama and Sport) Sound department The story of three young boxers and their coach who is determined to guide them in a positive direction in and out of the ring.

  • La otra conquista

    La otra conquista (1998)
    Film (Drama and History) Sound department It is May 1520 in the vast Aztec Empire one year after the Spanish Conqueror Hernán Cortés' arrival in Mexico. "The Other Conquest" opens with the infamous massacre of the Aztecs at the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan [what is now called Mexico City]. The sacred grounds are covered with the countless bodies of priests and nobility slaughtered by the Spanish Armies under Cortés' command. The lone Aztec survivor of the massacre is a young Indian scribe named Topiltzin [Damián Delgado]. Topiltzin, who is the illegitimate son of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, survives the onslaught by burying himself under a stack of bodies. As if awakening from a dream, the young man rises from among the dead to find his mother murdered, the Spanish in power and the dawn of a new era in his native land. A New World with new leaders, language, customs... and God. Representing the New Order is the Spanish Friar Diego [José Carlos Rodríguez]. His mission is to convert the "savage" natives into civilised ... Written by Dennis Davidson Associates (DDA)

  • Safe Men

    Safe Men (1998)
    Film (Comedy and Crime) Sound department Two untalented singers are mistaken for a pair of major league safe crackers in Providence, Rhode Island. The two are pressed into service by the local hoodlums and quickly find themselves in conflict with their professional colleagues. Romantic interest is added by the daughter of the underworld leader who won't date the men she knows are gangsters. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

  • Atlanta's Olympic Glory

    Atlanta's Olympic Glory (1997)
    TV Movie (Documentary and Sport) Sound department Add a Plot »

  • The Myth of Fingerprints

    The Myth of Fingerprints (1997)
    Film (Comedy, Drama and Romance) Sound department An ambitious debut for writer/director Bart Freundlich charting the unrest with a family who gather together for thanks giving. Written by Jonathan Fox

  • Kiss Me, Guido

    Kiss Me, Guido (1997)
    Film (Comedy) Sound department Warren has an extra room in his apartment (and is five months behind on the rent) after his lover moves out, so a friend places an ad on his behalf for a GWM roommate. Frankie, a pizza baker (and aspiring actor), decides to move out of his family's flat in The Bronx when he comes home one evening and walks in on his brother making love to Frankie's girlfriend. Frankie checks ads for roommates in "the city" (i.e., Manhattan), notices Warren's ad and decides to answer it, reasoning that GWM stands for "Guy With Money." Written by Dennis Lewis <dsl@sprynet.com>

  • Out at Work

    Out at Work (1997)
    Film (Documentary) Sound department Add a Plot »

  • Hide and Seek

    Hide and Seek (1997)
    TV Movie (Drama) Sound department Mixes documentary interviews of memories of lesbian adolescence with the story of the 12-year-old girl Lou discovering her sexuality in 1960s America. Written by Brian Rawnsley <rawnsleb@natlib.govt.nz>

  • Story of the Red Rose

    Story of the Red Rose (1997)
    Film (Short) Director, Producer, Writer Add a Plot »

  • The Substance of Fire

    The Substance of Fire (1996)
    Film (Drama) Sound department Isaac Geldhart is a Holocaust survivor who, overcome by grief at the recent death of his wife, seems determined to run his publishing firm into the ground by printing books that have no hope of financial success. His son Aaron, who also works at the company, grows frustrated with Isaac's emotional decline and attempts to take over the firm. The resulting crisis involves Isaac's other two children, his daughter Sarah and his dying son Martin. Written by Jesse Garon <grifter@primenet.com>

  • Trees Lounge

    Trees Lounge (1996)
    Film (Comedy and Drama) Sound department Things aren't going so well for Tommy Basilio. He lost his job because he "borrowed" money from the register, his girlfriend left him for his boss and is now pregnant, and he can't find work because of the incident. His life revolves around the Trees Lounge, a neighborhood bar over which he lives, full of the colorful eccentrics one finds in such places, like the estranged husband, or the old boozer drinking himself to death. He drunkenly wanders through his life, still in love with his ex, desperate for some sort of meaning beyond the bar, some sort of meaning to his life. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

  • Prisoners of the War on Drugs

    Prisoners of the War on Drugs (1996)
    TV Movie (Documentary) Sound department Add a Plot »

  • Sense and Sensibility

    Sense and Sensibility (1995)
    Film (Drama and Romance) Sound department When Mr. Dashwood dies, he must leave the bulk of his estate to the son by his first marriage, which leaves his second wife and their three daughters (Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret) in straitened circumstances. They are taken in by a kindly cousin, but their lack of fortune affects the marriageability of both practical Elinor and romantic Marianne. When Elinor forms an attachment for the wealthy Edward Ferrars, his family disapproves and separates them. And though Mrs. Jennings tries to match the worthy (and rich) Colonel Brandon to her, Marianne finds the dashing and fiery John Willoughby more to her taste. Both relationships are sorely tried. Written by Kathy Li

  • Before You Go

    Before You Go (1995)
    Film (Documentary) Sound department Add a Plot »

  • The Wife

    The Wife (1995)
    Film (Comedy and Drama) Sound department Tom Noonan's dark comedy features a husband-and-wife team of psychotherapists who run a New-Age therapy group out in the wilderness. Late one night, Jack and Rita are visited by one of their patients, Cosmo, and his wife, Arlie. Cosmo's wife has felt "left out," since her husband spends so much time with the therapists and confides all of their secrets to them. Arlie has insisted on meeting them--the evening begins awkwardly, then painfully grinds on, as various tensions and power struggles emerge between and among the two couples. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

  • Palingenesis

    Palingenesis (1989)
    Film (Short) Director, Producer, Writer, Editor The film is a visual representation of the transmigration of the soul. Palingenesis originates from the Greek PALIN (again) and GENESIS (birth); a rebirth. In the tradition of classic German Expressionism of the 1920's, both visually and acoustically, the film is suggestive, haunting and suspenseful. Written by director


  • Artist residence and exhibition at Bas Fisher Invitational

  • Commissioned artist Miami Light Project for Here and Now Festival

  • Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Winner for Miami Filmmakers Collective

  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) North Miami Exhibition Pivot Points – MOCA’s 15 th anniversary collection, curated by Bonnie Clearwater

  • Individual Artist Access Grant to attend the Cannes Film Festival with the short film SHIFT by the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural A ff airs

  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) permanent collection, acquisition , North Miami, September

  • Jury Prize and Audience Award at MOCA Optic Nerve Video Art Competition

  • Creative Capital Advanced Professional Artist Development Program, by the Warhol Foundation and State of Florida Department of State, Div. of Cultural A ff airs

  • Jennylin Duany Light Bulb Fund, Miami Light Project

  • New Media Production Fund, LPB

  • New Work Miami: Video, Miami Art Museum (MAM)

  • Sundance Institute Fellow

  • Emmy™ nomination for sound for HBO’s America Undercover: Prisoners of the war on drugs

  • Golden Reel nomination for dialogue editing in Academy Awards™ winner “Sense and Sensibility”


  • New York University (New York, NY)

  • New York University MFA

Juan's Profile Statistics

  • Since: September 2011
  • Last online: > 2 weeks ago
  • Invites sent: 0

Juan's Résumé / CV

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