NUEVO RICO, the new film from Kristian Mercado Figueroa, has won the award for Best Animated Short at this year’s SXSW film festival. The film’s title refers to a dystopian future Puerto Rico, now called Nuevo Rico, where a struggling brother and sister stumble onto a celestial secret that propels them to fame. Accepting the award, Mercado said, “We don’t often see ourselves in cinema, we don’t often see ourselves as these characters, and we don’t even see ourselves in the future, and I wanted to change that. I had to make this film. It was vital.” 

Using boundary pushing visuals, NUEVO RICO examines how systemic capitalism devours all bonds. The film is rooted in a lack of autonomy, as it examines the effects of commercialization and colonial status of the island. Mercado described his film as “a bold venture into Latinx-Futurism.” One of the first Latinx-Futurism pieces in media, NUEVO RICO features a 90% POC call sheet that showcases diverse international animation teams. Mercado credited Executive Producer and star Jackie Cruz with nurturing the film’s creation “to give creators of color more roles and complex characters to play.” NUEVO RICO was realized by a consortium of Latinx creatives from Tunya York Studio/Colombia, Memoma Studio/Mexico City, Deux Wave - a POC-run company in Philly - and Fustic Studio/Vietnam. Mercado cast Afrolatinx talent, with Barbie played by Cruz, and Vico played by Antonio Vizcarrondo of Puerto Rican-Jamaican background.

In addition to NUEVO RICO, “Bring Back Laughs,” an outdoor comedy special filmed by Mercado this past summer featuring Carmen Lynch, Janeane Garofalo, Tone Bell, and others, was included in the 2021 SXSW Comedy Festival lineup. On the spot front, Mercado is in production on his latest collaboration with bespoke NY-based production company Easy Mondays. The project is a global ad campaign for an undisclosed client; Mercado’s recent work with the company - Corona “Shellphone,” starring Snoop Dogg and Bad Bunny - aired during Super Bowl LV. “Kris has a heightened ability to comprehend any project's core concept as soon as he lays eyes on it,” said Easy Mondays Founder/EP Asori Soto. “Whether it is a commercial, a music video, a short, or even the films he is developing, Kris perceives its uniqueness. He knows what is needed to realize its potential. In the advertising world, this proves to be an unparalleled superpower!”

Learn more about NUEVO RICO from Mercado’s interview in Flaunt, and the article on

Easy Mondays is represented by Carl Forsberg and Justin Lasoff (Apostle) on the East Coast, Sarah Gitersonke (SG&Partners) in the Midwest, Veronica Lombardo (VLM) on the West Coast, and Marta Burga in the Hispanic market. 

About Kristian Mercado
Kristian Mercado is a Puerto Rican filmmaker living in Spanish Harlem whose music-driven short film “Pa’lante” won the SXSW Jury Award 2019. His screenplay “HawkBells” was awarded at SLAMDANCE for screenwriting in 2020.Mercado-directed comedy specials include "Bring Back Laughs," Sam Jay's "3 in the Morning," and “Miami Nights,” starring Hannibal Buress, which debuted on Netflix this summer. Mercado’s distinct voice, addresses issues of identity, family, and systemic oppression across race and class. His work is celebrated for its poetic portrayal of working class struggles, highlighting the gaps between love and loss. He has directed content for Billie Eilish, Awkwafina, Migos, De La Soul, MF DOOM, Planned Parenthood, Bad Bunny, and Adult Swim, in addition to commercial projects that he has produced with Not To Scale for Adidas and others. 

About Easy Mondays
Overseen by Founder/Executive Producer Asori Soto, Easy Mondays is a bespoke production company established by a bunch of creative gourmands, voyagers, and trendsetters. We circled the world more than a couple of times last year. We produced moving pictures about cars, food, beverages, health, rock and roll, fashion, social issues, we published trendsetting magazines on travel and the pleasures of life, we wrote and photographed books. In short, we spent countless hours devoted to finding the most cinematic experiences around the globe, and we brought our babies and dogs as witnesses! Our pursuit in the never-ending circle of life is to create the most engaging content for our clients. We are known for our high-quality productions and our taste at selecting excellent restaurants in the most remote regions. And we do all of it because we love it, because it is in our ethos, and because we shine the most when we are crafting astonishing stories together.