Patricia Cardoso, award winning filmmaker, director, and UC Riverside professor in the Department of Theater, Film, and Digital Production. UCR/Stan Lim)
June 18, 2024

Patricia Cardoso is first Latina to join the Academy’s Board of Governors, director’s branch

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences welcomed five new first-time members, including Cardoso

Author: Sandra Baltazar Martínez
June 18, 2024

Filmmaker and University of California, Riverside professor Patricia Cardoso has been elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors, director’s branch, becoming the first Latina in this branch.  

In a June 1 statement, the Academy announced that Cardoso would be joining the 2024-25 Board of Governors. The 55-member board elected five first-time members, including Cardoso, as representatives of the directors branch; the Academy operates with 19 branches and its Board of Governors is tasked with setting the Academy’s strategic vision, preserving the organization’s financial health, and assuring the fulfillment of its mission.

More than half (53%) of the board are now women and 27% belonging to an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. The recognition is a testament to filmmakers who paved the way, Cardoso said. 

“I am honored and grateful to have been elected by my director peers at the Academy, which include extraordinary directors like Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, Jason Reitman, Christopher Nolan, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Jane Campion, Julie Dash, Sofia Coppola, and Ron Howard. It is extraordinary to have their recognition and trust, and their validation to my voice, stories, and film work,” said Cardoso, a professor with UCR’s Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production. “I’m excited to begin this three-year term as an Academy Governor. I want to work to advance the excellence of cinema and the intentional use of the power of cinema towards a more inclusive, creative, and peaceful world. The Latine community is almost invisible in the film industry, both in front and behind the camera. An election to be an Academy Governor means that not only I, but my entire community will have a seat at the table where decisions are made.”

Since joining UCR six years ago, Cardoso has directed at least 15 episodes for television and streaming services produced and distributed by leading studios and networks in the U.S. Most recently, she directed and executive produced the pilot for Harlan Coben’s “Shelter” for Amazon and MGM. “Shelter” was selected to be the opening night program for the 62nd Monte-Carlo Television Festival, one of the most prestigious television festivals in the world. It was released fall 2023. Some of her other directing credits include episodes of the shows “Will Trent,” “Queen Sugar,” and the remake of “Party of Five,” as well as the movies “Lies in Plain Sight” and “El Paseo de Teresa.”

Cardoso has carved out a career as a Hollywood director, of which only 4% are female, and of that, less than 1% are Latinas. In 2019, her first feature film “Real Women Have Curves” was one of 25 films chosen to be part of the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, making her the first Latina director to be included in the registry’s list of women directors. Of the films selected from over 6,000 nominated titles for inclusion in the library that year, only seven were directed by women.

Patricia Cardoso with "Real Women Have Curves" cast at Sundance Film Festival in 2002. (Photo courtesy of Patricia Cardoso)

“I am honored to have served on the director’s branch executive and aperture committees, to have mentored through the Academy Gold, and judged for the Student Academy Awards and Nichols Fellowships. Winning a Student Academy Award with my UCLA thesis film when I was a college student myself changed my life. It was the first time I felt truly seen and valued as a filmmaker,” Cardoso said. “This validation gave me the stamina to persevere through the almost insurmountable obstacles I have encountered in my career. I bring the perspective of serving on the DGA Independent Directors Committee, being on the DGA National Board as an alternate member, and having worked for the Sundance Institute as the head of the Latin American Program. As an anthropologist, I am aware of the tremendous influence film has on people's lives around the globe. I believe in the Academy's transformational power to impact our culture and how movies are made towards an inclusive, creative, and peaceful world.”

Daryle Williams, dean for UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, or CHASS, said he is not surprised the Academy elected Cardoso to the Board of Governors.

“CHASS takes immense pride in Professor Cardoso’s great accomplishments and recognition. Of course the Academy wants her on the Board of Governors,” Williams said. “Patricia has incredible passion for her craft — a passion one can see on screens large and small as well as in the classroom and studio here at UCR. The Academy is lucky to have her, and so are we. Hearty congratulations, Patricia.”

Read a profile on Cardoso’s career: Calling the shots: Trailblazing Latina director Patricia Cardoso is making a name for herself in Hollywood while guiding future filmmakers at UCR

Video on Cardoso's career: Storytelling in filmmaking: where emotion and humanity meet


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