María Nela Sinisterra, who has played an active role in Argentinian theater, television, and film, has just finished the feature film Pacific, her fourth Colombian production.
Sinisterra left her home city, Buenaventura, and moved to Bogota to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion model. She worked as a TV host and model, and was even a contestant in the Miss Bogota pageant. In 2007, Sinisterra traveled to Argentina as a participant in the reality show De frente al miedo, which helped launch her career in the local art world, with the support of producer Gerardo Sofovich. She started off there as a TV host, moved on to work as a theater actress, then tried her hand at television with the series Todas a mi and Pasajeros.
“Opportunities to work in television first come about by blind luck. You just get that first break, and other opportunities keep opening up if you played a role that made the audience remember you,” says Sinisterra.
But unlike many actors, Sinisterra has worked more in film than in television. On the small screen, she has acted in La hipocondriaca, Comando élite, Cumbia ninja 2, La madame, and Mentiras perfectas. She is now acting in Pambelé, a series on the life of the 1970s world boxing champion of the same name, where she plays the Colombian prizefighter’s wife, the first leading role of her television career.
In the world of cinema, she has already made 10 films, including Corazón de león (Argentinian and Colombian versions); Penumbra (Argentina); Olimpia (Argentina); 8 tiros (Argentina); Hombres a la carta (Colombia); and the co-productions Tiempo muerto and Pacifico (Colombia and Argentina), now in post-production. “As actors, we’re actors in every area where a performer is needed. The opposite of what happens to most people happened to me: I ended up in film first. Yet for me, television is just as important, and even though I tried there when I started, it didn’t happen at first,” Sinisterra explains to Location Colombia.
María Nela Sinisterra’s aspirations reach beyond acting. A little over four years ago, she and Mauricio Brunetti co-founded the Argentinian production company Sinema, which aims to create productions that stand apart. “My biggest motivation is to make a different kind of film, which could make important contributions to the great history of Argentinian film. My accomplishments as a producer include having expanded borders by engaging two cultures on the same set: Argentina and Colombia,” comments Sinisterra, who has co-produced the films Corazón de león (Colombian version), Tiempo muerto, and Pacifico.
As a producer, she focuses on providing her team with all of the tools they need and, above all, ensuring that actors feel comfortable and can give the best of their creativity. “I’m constantly attempting to give actors what they need – things that a general producer is usually unaware of, and which are crucial for a project to be carried out harmoniously and creatively,” explains Sinisterra. She also stresses her role as an actor in one of her own productions: “When I act in one of Sinema’s films, my job as a producer ends right before shooting begins. At that moment, I stop being a producer and become just another member of the cast. I’ve managed to create a barrier between myself as an actor and as a producer, to let each part of me work at the right time.”
For Sinisterra, the Film Law has been an essential factor in how the world views the Colombian film industry and everything surrounding it. She believes that Colombia has stepped into the spotlight, and that there is enormous potential just waiting to be exploited. “I think it’s the best thing that could have happened to Colombian cinema, because the law has made the whole world see Colombia as a miniature Hollywood in Latin America, where all you need is a proactive team, a great script, and visionary investors capable of creating a worthwhile project,” she says.
Her upcoming plans include acting in Pambelé – set to wrap up shooting in November; Perro, directed by Colombian Harold Trompetero, where she will co-star alongside John Leguízamo; and New York/Bogotá, directed by José Arzuaga.