Donna Bonilla Wheeler
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Donna is a narrative film director, writer, activist, and multi-disciplinary artist. Her focus is female characters with heroic or unusual gifts, humanity or insights. She gives voice to Latine and Indigenous stories, often including mystical elements. Works are Nicholl SFs, Gotham No Borders, Slamdance Labs, MIPTV/Cannes, and Austin Film Festival, among others.

“I like exploring traditional American ideals, like rugged individualism and isolationism, versus the healing that comes from community, belonging, and inclusiveness; traditions associated with my Indigenous-Latine roots."

Donna develops her work with support from Sundance Collab, Stowe Story Labs, Reel Sisters / BRIC, CA Center for Cultural Innovation, PageCraft, and Fractured Atlas.

Her crime comedy mockumentary, Death of a Saleswoman, is a satire on cultural silencing and patriarchal repression of high-achieving women. It sold at Cannes, Berlinale, and AFM, and streams on U.S. and international platforms.

Her aspirational short film, The Girl Next Door, about a voiceless harmonica virtuoso, deals with success-bound women facing conflicting family loyalties, and further examines individualism vs the dynamics of belonging. It has screened at 56+ international and U.S. festivals. She's in development on the feature version, Natalia Rising.

Donna actively supports fellow female directors, founding and leading the #MentorLatinaDirectors Fellowship, through an Initiative with Alliance of Women Directors.

  • Directing Reel