Juan Felipe is an award-winning Colombian filmmaker based in New York City.
Juan Felipe Zuleta (b. 1994) is an award-winning director based in New York City whose diverse body of work celebrates, interrogates, and explores identity through a character-driven and genre-bending cinematic lens. After immigrating to the United States from Medellín as a teenager, Juan Felipe earned his first industry internship at the Paramount Pictures lot when he befriended a group of executives on his recreational futbol team. From that unpaid desk job, he went on to study at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (‘16) before becoming one of the youngest-ever in-house directors at Eva Nosidam following graduation.
When not directing commercials for brands like Budweiser or directing music videos for multi-platinum artists like Maluma and Russ, Juan Felipe works to reconcile the unique and divergent aspects of his identity by creating original films about outsiders. Going from a conservative Catholic upbringing in Colombia to the diverse, liberal atmosphere of Los Angeles and New York gave Juan Felipe a one-of-a-kind perspective on notions of nationality, identity, and art. Accordingly, he is dedicated to new narratives that ask engaging questions and eschew cliches; melding genres to explore authentic narratives that continually break ground on-screen. His inspirations include Denis Villenueve, Alfonso Cuarón, Luis Buñuel, and the Coen Brothers.
“Every now and then,” writes Afterbuzz, “a film is released that captivates an audience from beginning to end, and Unidentified Objects is that film.” This project—Juan Felipe’s first feature—has played at top international festivals and continues its journey in the festival circuit; later this year it will play in Sitges and Fantastic Fest. It had the coveted US Centerpiece slot at Outfest, where it received prizes for Best Narrative Feature and Outstanding Lead Performer. It has also been written up on Variety, Deadline, in The Wrap, and by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. San Francisco Magazine raved that Unidentified Objects is “sure to become an indie cult classic” while Queer Forty adds that it is “one of the best road movies ever made!”
Additional honors received by Juan Felipe include a $50,000 creative grant from the Richard Vague Production Fund, a Cannes Silver Lion for his narrative mockumentary for Kraft, making the shortlist for the Cannes Young Directors award for his short doc 90 Brothers, and inclusion in the 2021 Frontières International Co-production Market for his upcoming second feature. His branded work has also been featured in AdAge and other leading industry publications.
He is currently developing a slate of forthcoming projects, including two more feature films: Spanish-language coming-of-age thriller We Were Born Dead and an untitled English-language sci-fi drama.
Juan Felipe is proud to be a first-generation American citizen and always strives to push the boundaries of filmmaking as part of the next creative wave.