It’s impossible to consider the history of Latin American art without acknowledging the enormous legacy of Frida Kahlo. The Mexican artist, born in 1907, combined elements of classical painting with popular Indigenous culture and folk art to produce an expressive, magic-realist style all her own. Since her death in 1954, she’s become an icon not just for her pioneering, feminist work, but also for her radical politics, colourful style and dramatic life story.

British director Ali Ray’s captivating new bio-doc (made for the popular Exhibition on Screen series) features an impressive roster of academics, art historians, gallerists and Kahlo’s official biographer, Hayden Herrera. Kahlo’s life was one of great suffering and pain, but it was also full of passion, drive and a deep love of painting and Mexico. By paying meticulous attention to the details of her oeuvre, the film holds space for both these realities and paints its own portrait of an artist charting her own course.

World premiere
Director Icon Director
Ali Ray

Anna Chancellor
Executive Producer Tim Dawson, Phil Grabsky, Amanda Wilkie
Screenwriter Phil Grabsky, Ali Ray
Cinematographer Mario Gallegos, Joshua Csehak
Editor Clive Mattock
Music Asa Bennet
Production Company EXHIBITION ON SCREEN, Seventh Art Productions
Source Seventh Art Productions
UK 2020 90 min. English, Spanish with English subtitles Official Website | Trailer
Presented by
Community Partners
Media Partner


Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

Ray, Ali headshot


Ali Ray has directed and produced for the UK’s Channel 4, Channel 5 and worked on productions for BBC, Discovery, and other international broadcasters. Working primarily in art history programming she directed and produced The Impressionists, Great Artists, High Five, Venice Biennale, and Judgement Day. Frida Kahlo is Ali’s debut feature film. She also has a successful career in non-fiction writing, specializing in food and travel; to date she has written three food books.