• El Mar La Mar

El Mar La Mar



An immersive and enthralling journey through the Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border, EL MAR LA MAR weaves together harrowing oral histories from the area with hand-processed 16mm images of flora, fauna and items left behind by travelers. Subjects speak of intense, mythic experiences in the desert: A man tells of a fifteen-foot-tall monster said to haunt the region, while a border patrolman spins a similarly bizarre tale of man versus beast. A sonically rich soundtrack adds to the eerie atmosphere as the call of birds and other nocturnal noises invisibly populate the austere landscape.

Emerging from the ethos of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, J.P. Sniadecki’s attentive documentary approach mixes perfectly with Joshua Bonnetta’s meditations on the materiality of film. Together, they’ve created an experience of the border region like nothing you’ve seen, heard or felt before.


"An unsettlingly topical portrait of the American southwest... El Mar La Mar plays more like a horror film than an exercise in journalistic nonfiction."
- Jordan Cronk, Sight & Sound

"One of the top 10 films of 2017...cinema and landscape come together as sites of inscription marked by an encounter between the human and nonhuman."
-Erika Balsam, ArtForum

"Bonnetta and Sniadecki’s film stands out because it allows one of the most politicized terrains in the world to speak for itself."
-Philip Oltermann, The Guardian


February 2018
Feb 23-Mar 1: Museum of Modern Art - New York, NY
Feb 27: Acropolis Cinema - Los Angeles, CA

March 2018
Mar 22: Oklahoma City Museum of Art - Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 29-Apr 1: Sleeping Giant Fest - Jacksonville, FL

April 2018
Apr 4: Union Cinema, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI
Apr 6-12: The Screen - Santa Fe, NM
Apr 10: Wisconsin Film Festival - Madison, WI
Apr 12: Cinema Lamont - Detroit, MI
Apr 19: Northwest Film Forum - Seattle, WA
Apr 20-25: Gene Siskel Film Center - Chicago, IL
Apr 26: Cornell Cinema - Ithaca, NY
Apr 25-28: The Dairy Arts Center - Boulder, CO
Apr 26: Vertical Cinema - Iowa City, IA

May 2018
May 20: Champlain Valley Film Series - Essex, NY
May 30: Alamo Drafthouse Winchester - Winchester, VA

July 2018
July 13-15: Webster Film Series - St. Louis, MO

August 2018
Aug 29: DeBartolo Performing Arts Center - Notre Dame, IN

September 2018
Sept 30: Museum of the Moving Image - New York, NY

October 2018
Oct 10: River Run Global Film Series - Buffalo, NY
Oct 12: Film Fest Tucson - Tucson, AZ

November 2018
Nov 4: Space Gallery - Portland, ME

Festivals & Awards

Official Selection – Berlin International Film Festival, 2017
Official Selection – San Francisco International Film Festival, 2017
Official Selection – New York Film Festival, 2017
Official Selection – BFI London Film Festival, 2017
Official Selection – Vienna International Film Festival, 2017
Official Selection – Chicago International Film Festival, 2017
Official Selection – AFI FEST, 2017
Official Selection – International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, 2017
Winner – Caligari Film Award, Berlin International Film Festival
Winner – Best Film, Dokufest Kosovo
Winner – Best Film, Curitiba International Film Festival
Winner – Universities Prize, IndieLisboa


Press Materials

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