Here you will find the profiles of directors, producers, audiovisual producers, actors, technical staff, etc. That by their trajectory and recognition have a prominent place in the national cinema.

Actor / Actress, Executive Producer

Manolo Cardona

Manuel Julian Cardona was born in Popayan on April 25, 1977. His early acting memories are of his role as Baby Jesus in pageants and processions around his native city, well known for this type of religious celebration. At age 9, Cardona moved to Cali and entered the Berchmans School with his brothers Juan Jose and Francisco. At 12, he landed his first commercial and began taking part in school plays. After finishing high school, Manolo moved to Bogotá where he studied International Finances and Relations at the Universidad Externado de Colombia. His brother Francisco convinced him to audition for a modeling agency and he was immediately added to their book. He quickly gained enough experience to be selected from a group of 600 candidates for a role in the TV series Padres e hijos, where he starred for three years while continuing his studies and professional training. His talented portrayal of Nicolas Franco got him seen on Colombian television and in 1999 he moved on to the Cenpro Television soap ¿Por qué diablos? starring Marcela Carvajal. Manolo then studied acting in Colombia and Spain under the tutelage of a number of renowned teachers including Fernando Piernas.
In 2001 he played John Hector Afanador in the Canal Caracol soap Amor a mil, and, after joining the award-winning cast of the hit series Pedro el Escamoso in  2002, he was cast in his first international production for Telemundo, Ladrón de Corazones, in 2003. In 2004, he worked on the Telemundo Mexican soap Gitanas, Marina (2006) and on Aquele Beijo (2011) in Brazil. His extensive television work has made him visible throughout Latin America. Recent television appearances include Canal RCN’s reality show Colombia tiene talento alongside Paola Turbay and Alejandra Azcarate, an episode of the Fox Telecolombia series Tiempo Final and the Canal Caracol series El Cartel. His role as mafia kingpin Martin Gonzalez changed his life. The television teaser for the show gave him the idea of adapting the series to the big screen since, in Cardona’s words, “Film is my greatest passion; I love it. After so many years in television, the movies seem like the next step.”

In 2004, he starred with Flora Martinez in Emilio Maille’s screen adaptation of the bestseller Rosario Tijeras and in Ricardo de Montreuil’s Mexican film La mujer de mi hermano. Cardona broke into Hollywood as Sam in the Disney film Beverly Hills Chihuahua alongside actors like Drew Barrymore. In 2009, he played homosexual painter Santiago in Javier Fuentes-León’s Colombo-Peruvian co-production Contracorriente. That same year, he joined actor Kuno Becker in the Mexican film La última muerte. Manolo and Kuno teamed up again in 2011 on the set of Carlos Moreno’s El Cartel de los Sapos La Película in which Cardona once again plays Martín “Fresita” González, but this time not only did he act but won everyone’s admiration for his work as a first-time producer.
Manolo found alternating between the two jobs a challenge: “My biggest challenge was remaining focused while playing my part as best I could and keeping an eye on everything that was happening on the production side. It was difficult to find the right balance.” His role as producer also helped him “understand things that actors are often unaware of when only acting. I now understand all the problems behind a production.”
Manolo is very happy with the results of his debut  as producer. Working with Carlos Moreno (Perro come perro, Todos tus muertos) ensured narrative and dramatic cohesiveness. “All modesty and humility aside, I think El cartel de los sapos has created a new “before” and “after” in Colombian filmmaking. Our industry has come a long way but I think this film will prove to be a landmark for audiences and new generations, and for new directors and talent, to say “yes, we can make films.” Aside from the subject matter, because I know it’s going to be controversial, El cartel de los sapos -- the look of the film, the level of production, the acting and directing – is the perfect example of our ability to make a solid, compact film on a par with any world-class production.”

El cartel de los sapos was chosen by the Colombian Academy of Film Arts and Sciences to represent Colombia at the 2012 Academy Awards. Cardona comments: “Our allies and distributor in the US have already begun the task of getting the film seen by the Academy and, hopefully, securing the nomination for Best Foreign Film, which would be an incredible triumph for Colombia.” The 35 year-old actor also says he believes the Colombian film industry is currently at an all-time high: “These are very interesting times and we’re all working to create this new industry, which obviously we hope to take as far as possible.”

Manolo’s 11:11 Films, founded with brothers Pacho and Juancho Cardona, is currently developing television projects and is about to start shooting a co-production with Mexico called El Jesuita. Cardona is finishing up Fort Bliss, an American film directed by Claudia Myers starring Michelle Monaghan.