Juan Avella is an LA-based writer and director from Caracas, Venezuela who focuses on gritty thrillers and genre stories set in multicultural worlds. Juan’s two award-winning short films, HIJO POR HIJO (2017) and HER BODY (2018), were exclusively distributed by HBO after successful festival runs; the latter is currently streaming on HBO Max. He holds a Screenwriting MFA from the AFI Conservatory, where he won the William J, Fadiman Award for excellence in screenwriting for his crime thriller BOLICHICOS. This project was also the recipient of the 2019 TFI Sloan Film Fund grant from the Tribeca Film Institute, and the script was included in The Black List’s 2019 inaugural LatinX List. He is repped by The Gersh Agency and Thruline Entertainment, and his work has been supported by the Time Warner Foundation, Film Independent, and NALIP.
In 2011, Avella relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a MFA in Screenwriting from the AFI Conservatory. During the study there, his crime-thriller feature script ALEJO was awarded the prestigious 2014 William J. Fadiman award for best screenplay and top achievement in screenwriting.
In Avella’s career, “NALIP has helped me a lot and given me a lot of help.” Initially, the main reason he joined NALIP is because he saw other friends and collaborators benefiting from the community, specifically producer Diego Najera who successfully sold his short film Spark to HBO through NALIP. Inspired by Najera’s success, he became a member of NALIP six months later and luckily sold his own film to HBO as well. One highlight with NALIP, Avella shares, is getting to meet other cool people who are willing to collaborate with him and tell the similar stories he would like to tell. In Avella’s opinion, it is very difficult to find people who share similar ideas and beliefs, but NALIP has been that place for him to look for them.
Talking about the current environment in the entertainment industry, Avella has very positive attitudes. “The entertainment industry is changing a lot, no one really knows where it is going. What I see the best thing for everyone is, both companies and content creators themselves are taking chances on new voices and new initiatives, to either find new creators or put new content out there.”