Sebastián Lelio Watt (born 8 March 1974) is a Chilean director, screenwriter, editor and producer. He received critical acclaim for directing the films Gloria (2013) and A Fantastic Woman (2017), the latter of which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Lelio in 2017
Sebastián Lelio Watt
8 March 1974
Lelio was born in Mendoza, Argentina, and moved to Viña del Mar, Chile, at the age of two, with his Chilean mother Valeria. He describes his early life as "nomadic": "Up to the age of 21, I was moving between different cities in Chile. I lived for a time in the United States, and also in Viña del Mar; my maternal family is from Viña... essentially I was never more than two or three years in the same city."
Born with the surname Lelio, he changed his surname to that of his adoptive father, Campos; but after having attained some fame with his first film, Lelio again took his biological father's name.
After studying journalism for one year at Andrés Bello University, Lelio graduated from the Chilean Film School (Escuela de Cine de Chile). He has directed many short films and musical videos. In 2003, he released Cero, a documentary based on unedited material from the 2001 September 11 attacks in New York, co-directing with Carlos Fuentes. He directed two seasons of the successful documentary series Mi mundo privado (My private life) together with Fernando Lavanderos. The series followed the private lives of Chilean families from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and was nominated twice for the Altazor Awards and also the Emmy Awards.
In 2005, his debut feature film La Sagrada Familia (The Sacred Family) premiered at the San Sebastián International Film Festival. Filmed over three days and edited over a period of almost one year, the film screened in over one hundred festivals and received a number of national and international awards. In 2009, his second feature film, Navidad (Christmas), premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Year of the Tiger (Spanish: El Año del Tigre), Lelio’s third feature film, premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2011. The film is set in the aftermath of the 2010 Chile earthquake and follows an escaped prisoner as he journeys through areas hit hardest by the quake.
As with his first two films, The Year of the Tiger explores religious faith and how it influences people's behaviours. Lelio told an interviewer from The Clinic (magazine), "What I find fascinating is the interplay between the question of meaning that religion poses - a basic question - with the fact that in Chile, in Latin America, the Judeo-Christian version of reality is dominant. Everything is defined in relation to this view: whether you are for or against it, whether or not you escape it."
Lelio’s fourth feature film, Gloria, won the San Sebastián International Film Festival Film in Progress award in 2012. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2013, to excellent reviews, with lead actress Paulina García receiving the festival’s prestigious Best Actress award.
In his fictional work, Lelio favours the use of digital cinematography. Using improvisation, montage work, and scripts without dialogue, he created the short films Ciudad de maravillas, Carga vital, and 2 minutos.
Lelio has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship and a German DAAD grant to develop his new projects. As a scriptwriter, Lelio has written or co-written all of his films (including short films), except The Year of the Tiger.
The Chilean Lelio's Oscar success was reported by the Argentinian press as the "Argentinian Director who won the Oscar". In an interview with Clarín in February 2018, he stated: "I was born in Argentina but technically I am not Argentinian, I am Chilean. My biological father is Argentinian but I was raised in Chile. I have a relationship with him and Argentina, place where I go often but in strict sense I am not Argentinian."
- La sagrada familia, 2006
- Navidad, 2009
- The Year of the Tiger, 2011
- Gloria, 2013
- A Fantastic Woman, 2017
- Disobedience, 2018
- Gloria Bell, 2019
- 4, 1995
- Cuatro, 1996
- Smog, with Marialy Rivas, 2000
- Fragmentos urbanos, 2002
- Ciudad de maravillas, 2002
- Carga vital, 2003
- El efecto Kulechov, 2010
- "Sebastián Lelio". Cinechile (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- Ernesto Garratt Viñes, "Sebastián Lelio: Hacer 'Gloria' fue entrar a un mundo desconocido", diario.elmercurio.com, 1 February 2013.
- Fernando Lavanderos y Sebastián Lelio Archived 2015-06-23 at the Wayback Machine, Premioaltazor.cl; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- “Mi mundo privado”, semifinalista de los premios EMMY, Terra.cl, 24 September 2006; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- Cineasta chileno presentó hoy en Cannes su película Navidad. La Tercera. 21 May 2009; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- Mañana se exhibe el año del tigre en festival de Toronto, 9 September 2011; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- Chile's earthquake stars in new film by Sebastián Lelio, thisischile.cl, 5 June 2012; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- Uno puede tener una relación religiosa con la realidad sin reducirse al problema de Dios, theclinic.cl, 6 February 2012; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- Films in Progress Awards. Sansebastiánfestival.com; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- Chilean Paulina García wins best actress at Berlin Film Fest. This is Chile. 27 February 2013; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- . Guggenheim fellowship website; retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "In a first, 'Fantastic Woman' wins Oscar with transgender lead". NBC News. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "LMNeuquen.com". Lmneuquen.com.
- "Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata - El Intransigente".
- Scholz, Pablo O. (16 February 2018). "Oscar 2018: La película chilena que puede dar el batacazo". Clarín (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 March 2018.