In July of 2015, Lia Chapman made her debut as a director with her award-winning short film, Broken Angels, which achieved outstanding international recognition.
After earning BA in Sociology from Fordham University in New York, Lia expanded her education and graduated with distinction from the directing certificate program at UCLA in 2016.
Her latest film, In My Mother’s Arms (starring Lia, Joaquim de Almeida and Julie Carmen), premiered at New York’s 6th Annual Dominican Film Festival on July 30, 2017, and won second place for BEST PICTURE.
Lia founded the production company ‘Mis Tres Hermanas’ (Spain-Dominican Republic), to develop films showcasing non-stereotypical images of women that resonate with a global audience.
Having appeared in numerous films, television shows, and plays in the U.S., Spain, and her native Dominican Republic, actress-director-producer Lia Chapman is developing a career that positions her as a cultural ambassador of Black Latino artists worldwide.
In her starring role in the hit Spanish television sitcom Canguros, she became the first black actress in a leading role in prime time Spanish television. Lia's other credits include roles in El Rey de la Habana by Agustí Villaronga, Before Night Falls directed by Julian Schnabel, In the Time of The Butterflies directed by Mariano Barroso (and starring Salma Hayek), and Antonio Banderas' directorial debut, Crazy in Alabama. She played a self-absorbed model in Barroso's Invisibles, which was produced by Javier Bardem and received a GOYA Award. As the lead in the romantic drama Roble de Olor (which earned Best Picture at The Dikalo Awards at the International Pan African Festival in Cannes), Variety compared her to a young Cicely Tyson and noted the strong presence, dignity and elegance of her portrayal of a free black woman in 1800's Havana.
As a teen-ager in New York City, Lia was discovered by the Zoli modeling agency. She quickly began working internationally, walking the runway for top designers such as Yves Saint-Laurent and Diane von Furstenberg. She appeared on the cover of Essence magazine and in the pages of Seventee and Glamour, among many others. Modeling in Madrid led to a small role in Pedro Almodovar's Matador and in Fernando Trueba's Se Infiel y No Mires Con Quién, which piqued her interest in acting. She began studying with legendary teacher Juan Carlos Corazza, alongside Javier Bardem and many more of Madrid's leading actors.
After over a decade of steady work in Spanish film and television, Lia relocated to Los Angeles to further her work in front of and behind the camera. She founded the production company Mis Tres Hermanas to develop films that showcase non-stereotypical images of women that resonate with a global audience. The company partnered with Argentinian director Mercedes Farriols for two features: Olga, Victoria, Olga and 4,3,2,Uno, both of which won several awards, including Best Film for Olga, Victoria, Olga at The Israel International Film Festival. Mis Tres Hermanas also produced the award-winning short That Kiss, directed by Kamala Lopez, which screened in over twenty festivals and garnered the 2012 Audience Award at BHLIFE and the 2013 Best Short Film at Señorita Cinema. In 2014, Mis tres Hermanas opened a branch in the Dominican Republic to bring forward the stories of black Latina women.
Lia's short film Broken Angels – which she wrote, directed, and stared in – is about eight female survivors of domestic and sexual violence. It premiered in June 2015 at The Dominican Film Festival in New York. Broken Angels has participated in eighteen festivals and won several awards, including Best Actress at the Festival de Cine Social de Castilla La Mancha in Spain. Lia’s newest film, In My Mother’s Arms, premiered at the Dominican Film Festival on July 30th, 2017 where it won second place for Best Film.
Other upcoming projects for Lia’s production company Mis Tres Hermanas include Lia’s third short film Wounds, the documentary My Long Journey To Me, and Lia’s first feature-length film as a director, Because I Love You. (All three projects are written by Lia.) As an actor, Lia recently played the director of a Haitian orphanage in the feature film Isolated Victim (currently in post production), directed by Ramses Jimenez and produced by Entre Films and Cisely Saldana's Cinestar. She will be playing a supporting role in the Spanish award-winning director Marcos Moreno’s Assault to Freedom, which will be filmed in the Dominican Republic at the beginning of 2018.
Guided by her strong desire to expand and grow as an artist, she graduated from the directing certificate program at UCLA in June of 2016. Grateful to have had the opportunity to travel so far from her small Dominican town – thanks to her family, her skills, and the generosity of her mentors – Lia wants to make certain others experience the same good fortune. To that end, she founded a mentorship program for young filmmakers in Spain. Lia is honored to use her work as an actor, filmmaker, and advocate to continue to give voice to the complex lives of hard-working men and women in all corners of the globe.