Artist / filmmaker Poli Marichal was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and resides in Los Angeles, CA since 1989. She is considered one of the pioneers of experimental film in Puerto Rico. The experimental super 8mm shorts she created during the 1980”s, which combine animation, painted celluloid and documentary footage, have won awards at film festivals in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Venezuela and have been exhibited widely. Currently she works in video and now digital animation, as well as prints, paintings and mixed media at her studio in Los Angeles.
In 1991, after being awarded a grant for the Massachusetts Council for the Arts, she created the film installation, Dilemma I: Burundanga Boricua. This experimental installation combined
documentary footage with animation and hand painted film to create a layered and painterly portrait of Puerto Rico that addressed social, political and ecological issues affecting the island. In 1992, she was a recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in Media Arts, for which she completed the documentary Son Afrocaribeño- Puerto Rico: Bomba y Plena, that was widely screened in the US and the Caribbean.
In 1994, Universal Pictures' Hispanic Film Project selected her short dramatic script, Todo Cambia/Everything Changes for production. The short drama explores the tragic impact political persecution and exile has on its two main characters. She co-produced it with her husband, Ricardo Méndez Matta, who also directed it. The film won the Best Short Film Award at the San Juan Cinemafest in 1995.
In 1999, New York City's Museum of Modern Art selected two of her experimental films, Underwater Blues and Guernica, for the retrospective: Big as Life: An American History of 8mm Films. From 2000 to 2003, she directed several videos for the Service Employees International Union among which is Justicia!, a recruitment video addressed to undocumented workers.
In 2005, Ladrones y Mentirosos (Thieves and Liars), the feature length script she co-wrote and co-produced with her husband, Ricardo Méndez Matta, won the Foreign Film Best Director Award at the 1996 Phoenix Film Festival. The film was bought by HBO and distributed by Warner Home Video. In 2005, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture included her experimental films in the retrospective, “Rewind, rewind…” thirty years of experimental film and video in Puerto Rico.
Her experimental super 8mm film, Los Espejismos de Mandrágora Luna, is included in the retrospective, Radical Women, Latin American Art 1960-1985, at the Hammer Museum. One of her shorts, Sin Fronteras, that addresses issues of migration and displacement, is featured at the exhibition, South of the Border, at Loft at Liz Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. Both exhibitions are
part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA events.