Kamala Lopez

Filmmaker, Actor, Writer, Activist, Advocate

Kamala Lopez is an award-winning filmmaker, actress and Yale graduate born in New York City to an Indian mother and a Venezuelan father.

Kamala has worked as an actor in over thirty feature films including starring roles in Born in East L.A., Deep Cover, The Burning Season (winner of 2 Emmys, 3 Golden Globes and the Humanitas Prize), Clear and Present Danger, Lightning Jack, and I Heart Huckabees. She has starred in over sixty television shows including Black Jesus, Medium, 24, Alias, NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, and 21 Jump Street (winner of the Imagen Award). She hosted the PBS series Wired Science.

Kamala, a Yale University graduate in Philosophy and Theatre Studies, formed production company Heroica Films in 1995 with the mission to write, direct and produce media for women, about women and utilizing women both in front and behind the camera.

Her feature film debut “A Single Woman” about the life of first US Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin won the 2009 Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus. In 2013 her short Spanish-language film “Ese Beso” won the Jury Award at the Senorita Cinema Festival and the Audience Award at the Boyle Heights Latina Film Festival.

In 2016, her follow-up feature, the documentary Equal Means Equal, won Best U.S. Documentary (Audience Award) at Michael Moore’s TCF Festival and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick. The film was the catalyst behind a national civil rights movement resulting in the ratification of the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: The Equal Rights Amendment.

Equal Means Equal was released in the summer of 2016 and began to be used by activists across the country in community screenings, house parties and online to reinvigorate the fight to complete ERA ratification. In March of 2017, after over thirty-five years of inaction, the Equal Rights Amendment was ratified in Nevada. Then in March of 2018, Illinois ratified and on January 27th of 2020, Virginia became the 38th and final state necessary and the ERA was ratified after close to a century of struggle.

Kamala is a fellow of Film Independents Director’s Lab as well as their Writer’s Lab. In 2009 she was given a retrospective of her work, both as an actor and director, at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA).

She has served on the Board of Directors of Young Artists United as well as the Jury and Advisory Board of The Women’s International Film and TV Showcase. She is an official blogger for the Huffington Post and a Scholar of the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival.

Kamala collaborated with the Mayor’s Office in his Partnership for L.A. Schools in South Central Los Angeles as well as working with H.E.A.R.T., the LAUSD’s Gang and Crime Prevention Unit. She sat on the Board of Directors of Girls and Gangs, the only organization advocating for girls in the L.A. County Juvenile Justice system.

She is the recipient of the 2011 Woman of Courage Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus given to women from diverse backgrounds who have demonstrated courage by taking a stand to further civil rights and equality, and who exemplify women’s leadership. In 2012 Women’s eNews selected her as one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century.

Kamala’s work on behalf of women and girls has been recognized by Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors and the Women’s Commission who named her 2015 Woman of the Year (Arts/Media). In 2016, the State of California awarded her the Latino Spirit Award for Achievement in Advocacy and Entertainment and the national civil rights group Equal Rights Advocates named her Champion of Justice.

In March of 2019 she received the inaugural YaleWomen Impact Award for Excellence, and the City of West Hollywood’s Women in Leadership Award.

Kamala has been the Keynote or Featured Speaker in venues as disparate as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, the United Nations, The National Arts Club, at the YaleWomen Global Conference and Stanford Law School.

Kamala has appeared as herself on multiple television, radio and cable networks including NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, BBC, CNN, PBS, Telemundo, Univision, NPR, KPFK, WBAI, KIIS and many more.

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