Talent Guide

Javier Fuentes-Leon

  • Discipline:Director, Writer
  • Program Year:Fast Track 2011, Screenwriting Lab 2011


After graduating from Medical School in Peru, Javier Fuentes-Leon made a radical change in his life and moved to Los Angeles in 1994 to pursue a M.F.A. in film directing at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). His thesis film, Rooms, won the National Award for Short Films from the Peruvian government in 1997. In 2000, the National Theater of Peru considered his play Mr. Clouds among the best of the year and published it in the compilation Dramaturgia Nacional 2000.

His second short Gemini premiered at OUTFEST 2004 and screened at various international film festivals. His first feature Contracorriente (Undertow), a co-production between Peru, Colombia, France and Germany, premiered at the 2009 San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain, and since then has won over 50 awards, including Audience Awards at Sundance, Cartagena, Montreal, Lima and Galway, as well as Jury Awards in Madrid, San Francisco, Seattle, Toulouse and Philadelphia, among many others. Contracorriente was also chosen as Peru’s official submission for the 2011 Academy Awards and received a nomination as Best Latin American Film at the 2011 Goya Awards in Spain.

Currently, Fuentes-Leon is developing his next three projects: The Woman Who Feared the Sun (based on his play Mr. Clouds), a love story with touches of fantasy, which in 2011 was invited to FIND’s Screenwriting Lab and Fast Track, the Berlinale Co-production Market and IFP’s No Borders; The Vanished Elephant, a psychological thriller/film noir set in Peru, inspired by David Hockney’s photo-collage Pearblossom Highway and by Julio Cort’s short story ‘The Continuity of the Parks’ which in 2011 won the prestigious production grant from the Peruvian Film Commission; and Sinister, a rock musical set in a restrictive society of the near future, for which Fuentes-Leon is writing the music as well.

Current Project

The Woman Who Feared The Sun (Narrative Feature)


A lonely woman, mortally susceptible to sunlight, faces death when a human cannonball crashes through her roof before sunrise. Their initial violent struggle gives way to trust, love, and a chance to enter the light without burning.