Elia Urquiza is a director and producer based in Los Angeles. Her last feature film, Next, was released to critical acclaim in the prestigious Swiss festival Visions du Réel, and won the Special Jury Award at the International Malaga Film Festival and has played in numerous other festivals since (Rizoma Film Festival, Cinespaña Toulouse, L’Alternativa Barcelona, Margenes Film Festival, etc…).
Elia has been directing documentaries since 2003. Her first film, From Carmen to Carmen, analyzes the phenomenon of fame through the portraits of two apparently contradictory icons in Spanish society: the flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya and the then popular TV transvestite star Carmen de Mairena.
In 2005, she was one of the six young promising directors – all under 30 years old - selected to participate in the collective documentary Between the dictator and me, which showcased at over 150 venues all over the world. Another of her pieces, Story of a child, was shown at Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center (CCCB) and won her a master class with two of her favorite directors, Victor Erice and Abbas Kiarostami.
In 2008 she received the prestigious La Caixa fellowship that enabled her to explore the possibilities of fiction in the Film Directing Program at the California Institute of the Arts, under the mentorship of Monte Hellman. Later on, she won a grant from the Government of Navarre to finish her feature thesis film, Next, a documentary portrait of four young girls who are trying to become successful actresses in the outskirts of Hollywood.
As a producer, she has over fifteen years of experience managing feature films and commercials alike. She was the US line producer for the first LA Panda co-production, Open Windows, starring Elijah Wood and shot partly in Austin, Texas in 2012. She has also managed spots for Kellogg´s, Ballantine's, Reebok or Honda, among many others.
On the side, Elia teaches film theory and practice through different subjects at programs in UCLA Extension, UCLA Oxbridge and New York Film Academy. Also, she has been one of the programmers for L.A. Ola contemporary Spanish cinema showcase for the last three years.