• Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival

    Best Sound, Music
  • Bare Bones Music & Documentary Festival

    Best Music Doc, Best Feature Foreign Origins
  • Seattle Latino Film Festival

  • San Diego Latino Film Festival

  • Boston International Latino Film Festival

  • San Francisco Latino Film Festival

  • Cali International Film Festival

  • United Latino Int'l. Film Festival

  • Georgia Latino Int'l. Film Festival

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English and Spanish with English subtitles

New York is the promised land for musicians, welcoming outstanding and virtuoso performers from every corner of the world hoping to find success.

Diego, an Afro-Colombian musician, leaves his family behind on the Pacific Coast of Colombia with this in mind. He endures a solitary life as an undocumented immigrant and a minimum wage job at a cemetery all to become an ambassador of his music and culture. 

With unprecedented access to New York’s underground Latin American music scene, Dreams of Chonta takes us where the greatest musicians from around the world blend to create, perform, live, and breathe music. Through his legacy and impressive performances, Diego honors the richness and waves of change that immigration produces.


“★★★★ Invaluable for anyone studying the music and culture of South America’s Pacific coast. Musicologists, ethnographers, and those studying human rights and immigration would find much value in Diego Obregon’s story.” – J. Zimmerman, Video Librarian

“People have never been this close to the life of an undocumented immigrant whose struggles go beyond himself and his family to create a bridge between two worlds.” – The Boston Latino International Film Festival

“Obregon’s journey reflects both the challenges immigrants face in the United States and how vital they are to it. The film perfectly aligns with Avilés’ goal of taking viewers beyond the headlines and the stereotypes into the dynamic and diverse experiences of Latinx people.” – Celina Colby, The Bay State Banner

“To capture the essence of a man’s adversities is not easy on camera, but director Monica Cohen adeptly balances the documentary momentum and the musical touches that bring this story to life.” – Anna Hoang, Boston Hassle

“Dreams of Chonta would be invaluable for anyone studying the music and culture of South America’s Pacific coast. Musicologists, ethnographers, and those studying human rights and immigration would find much value in Diego Obregon’s story.” – J. Zimmerman, Video Librarian

About the Director
Monica Cohen is a passionate Colombian filmmaker and music composer dedicated to social documentaries focusing on art and culture. Monica is the founder of The Boom House Productions, a video and music production house based in Boston, MA.  She co-produced MY NAME IS PEDRO, an award-winning documentary film that premiered at Woodstock Film Festival in 2016. She moved to Boston where she Directed and Produced BOSTON’S LATIN QUARTER (2019), a short documentary film about the importance of the preservation of cultural enclaves within a city.

Monica’s first award-winning feature documentary film DREAMS OF CHONTA (2020), a story about the hopes and dreams of a talented musician from the Pacific coast of Colombia living undocumented in NYC, has been selected in multiple film festivals in the US and Latin America. Recently, Monica was one of the co-directors of CONNECTIONS: NO ONE IS AN ISLAND, a global multi-media interactive story about the connections and experiences people shared throughout the pandemic, a project that made its debut at CPH: DOX in April 2021. Monica continues to create powerful pieces rooted in storytelling sparking important conversations that put culture and art in the center of social transformation and human connection.

Notes on Film

“As a Colombian immigrant, a musician, and a dreamer, I felt very close to Diego’s story. I have felt the hardship of pursuing my own dreams in a strange land that may or may not provide the opportunities needed to succeed. I believe Diego is a tougher version of me though, an extraordinary musician born in poverty with dreams much bigger than himself. He is a man carving his way to the top against all odds, never giving up, always learning, and staying positive. Diego is a true example…a story worth telling. Dreams of Chonta will strike a chord with immigrants, anyone who has made sacrifices to risk for a better life or has benefited from the migration of previous generations.

I believe documentaries like Dreams of Chonta are eye-openers to the general public. The human struggle is universal but sometimes big issues need a face for people to change their attitudes towards a minority or, if possible, create the much-needed social change. Dreams of Chonta will not only inform the public about afro-descendent culture and immigrants in the US, but it will also make a statement about where we need to stand in this battle for immigration rights and about what immigrants really represent in society. I believe we are woven into the complex social and economical fabric of the countries we arrive in. The mutual influence between “locals” and “newcomers” generates the much-needed tension to spark innovation, creative pathways, and growth. This network of influences is bigger than the policies made by a government or our political views; our story as human beings is the story of migrations. We are important to the culture, the economy, and the future of these countries and Diego is the perfect evidence of this.”

– Monica Cohen, Director.