Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana is a Mexican immigrant filmmaker based in Denver, Colorado, whose work intersects contemporary art, political documentary, and visual ethnography to explore themes of belonging, alienation, and the concept of “home.”Artist Bio
Backside is a feature documentary film that captures the daily work, friendship, dreams, and expertise of the underrecognized migrant workers behind the Kentucky Derby. Following a racing season from beginning to end, this observational film reveals the web of class, labor, and wealth in the American South. Through unique access, immersive natural sounds, and intimate cinematography, Backside paints an intimate portrait of the unseen “groom” workers who endure long hours and dangerous working conditions year round to prepare polished horses for “two minutes of glory.” Along with a supporting cast of characters—hotwalkers, riders, trainers and assistant trainers—the groom protagonists bring us into the lives of those who have sustained the Kentucky Derby––the most famous horse race in the world and an emblem of the American South.
Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana
Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana is a Mexican immigrant filmmaker, whose work intersects contemporary art, political documentary, and visual ethnography to explore themes of belonging, alienation, and the concept of “home.” Paz-Pastrana often collaborates with BIPOC artists and academics that are working on bold artistic projects that expose racism and xenophobia, such as the worldwide Hostile Terrain94 installation and the Coyotek project interactive website. His award winning film Border South (2019), followed the clandestine migrant routes from southern Mexico to the US-Mexico border providing a close-up, original view of the migrant experience, fraught with risk, comradery, ingenuity, and humor. His films have screened at museums and festivals worldwide including at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK, The Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Santa Fe , MASS MoCA in Massachusetts, Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in New York City, and at the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) in Mexico. Paz-Pastrana’s work has received support from the Princess Grace Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the LEF Foundation, Catapult, and Sundance among others. He is a Camargo Foundation Cassis France Artist Alumni, a Firelight Media Documentary Lab Fellow, and a New America National Fellow.