Alvaro Castellanos - Artist BIO



Filmmaker, musician and media artist Alvaro Castellanos began his artistic career as a teenager playing in bands and composing music during his University years. After graduating from the UofT with a double Major in political science and Environmental studies,  Alvaro studied photography and film and took up shooting on 16mm film independently.

As artists working in the Toronto indie music scene – Alvaro and his brothers Boris and Ulysses Castellanos became somewhat of an institution in Toronto; first as the leaders of Various bands in Toronto Indie scene such as Project 9 and Mambo Urbano Orchestra, later founding ‘Quadrasonic’ - electronic music ‘happenings’ for which Alvaro created massive 16 mm film installations including experimental visuals shot by Alvaro on 16 mm.

Alvaro and his brothers Boris and Ulysses grew up hearing the heroic story of their grandfather, Colonel José Arturo Castellanos who in 2010 was posthumously named Righteous among the Nations by the State of Israel for putting his life and family at risk to rescue thousands of Jewish lives throughout Nazi occupied Europe.

In May 2016, the Castellanos brothers were invited to speak about their family patriarch in Berlin Germany at the German Foreign office on the former site of the Nazi Reich Bank. The ‘Film-Concerto was created as a compelling way of presenting the research compiled and filmed during their years of production for the documentary film now being submitted to your festival: THE RESCUE OF COLONEL CASTELLANOS which is co-directed by Alvaro and Boris Castellanos and produced by the two brothers. After the success of that live performance the brothers have performed their live film-concerto in various cities including, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Panama City, Panama, Beijing and Toronto:

The live performative piece (The Rescue a Live Film-Concerto) told the story of Colonel Castellanos who saved lives by issuing Salvadoran Nationality documents to more than 13,000 families while working as a diplomat in Hamburg and Geneva during the Holocaust.

Alvaro and Boris Castellanos strongly believe that one’s craft can be used to make a difference in the world. Alvaro conducted film workshops for youth at Cree Nation of Wemindji (in Northern Quebec), which provided him with the material for his short narrative film entitled Jesus of Wemindji – a film inspired and co-written by Cree Native youth, shot and directed by Alvaro & Boris Castellanos. Jesus of Wemindji is an artistic piece that shows the visual story telling of young William W. a native of the reserve, in his effort to shield his younger brothers from bullying in the face of his brother George’s autism. The short, experimental film poetically and subtly addresses the many challenges of growing up on the reserve and lack of resources and intellectual stimulus for First Nations youth on the reserve.

***This video link shows their live orchestra at play with the film, where you can see the directors of the film and concert playing bass and piano live: