Sofia Quirós Ubeda

I try to tell the story of the transition from childhood to adolescence and the confrontation of death through a magic lens.

Sofia Quirós Ubeda feeds her movies from her personal experiences of mourning and separation. At just 30 years of age, the Latin American film-maker created the first Costa Rican feature film presented at the 72nd Cannes Festival in 2019.

Published on 02/12/2019

2 min

There is something mysterious, almost mystical, about Sofia Quirós Ubeda. Born in Argentina, she started her career as a film-maker by studying sound and image design at the University of Buenos Aires. In 2015, she produced her first short film, Entre la Tierra. Sofia Quirós Ubeda quickly chose to work with a close set of women, notably for her feature film Ceniza Negra released in 2019: “My film is Costa Rica’s first feature film to be presented at Cannes. I am very proud to represent an independent Latin American film made by women. ". On the red carpet she wore a green scarf on her wrist, a symbol of the struggle for the right to abortion in Argentina.

Sofia Quirós Ubeda's films explore the intimate worlds of her characters, played by non-professional actors. The atmosphere she creates, using only natural light, is poetic and emotional. She depicts metaphysical issues from childhood to the outset of adolescence. Selva, her first short film, tells the story of the separation of a brother and his sister. Following on from that, she produced Ceniza Negra (Black Ash, 2019), a feature film shot in Costa Rica with her favourite young actress, Smachleen Gutierrez. On the set, the atmosphere is joyful and fun: “The boundary between filming and everyday life seems to disappear” she says. Actors from different generations work and play together, in symbiosis, to the rhythm of Elvis Presley's songs and to thunderstorms...

Sofia Quirós Ubeda was living in Argentina when she finally decided to shoot her films in Costa Rica, in the Limón region. Her first short films have been recognised and broadcast in nearly 40 cities around the world, in particular at the Berlinale Talents in Berlin (Germany), as well as the TV5 Prize in Biarritz (France) and the Women in Film and TV Award in Guanajuato (Mexico). Her short film Selva was shown at Cannes Critics’ Week in 2017, where she appeared again in 2019 for Ceniza Negra, accompanied by her predominantly female team.

  • 2015


    Sofia Quirós Ubeda becomes a member of the Berlinale Talents programme with her short film Entre La Tierra.

  • 2016


    First presentation in an official competition at the Costa Rica International Film Festival

  • 2017


    Her short film Selva is presented at the 56th Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival.

  • 2019


    Her first feature film Ceniza Negra (Black Ash) is presented at the 58th Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival. Sofia Quiros Ubeda is a member of the Next Step programme for this edition.

The Institut français and the director

In 2018, the film Ceniza Negra (Black Ash) by Sofia Quiros Ubeda received support from Aide aux cinémas du monde (Aid for World Cinema) programme. This Institut français programme provides support to foreign film-makers for film projects co-produced with France, whether they be feature-length fiction, animated films or creative documentaries. Find out more about the Aide aux cinémas du monde programme here.

L'institut français, LAB