Skip to the main content

Leonard Cortana is a P.hD Candidate at the Cinema Studies Department at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he gained a Certificate in Culture and Media from the NYU Anthropology Department.

He works as an Adjunct Instructor in International and French Film History. Prior to NYU, he conducted several artistic and educational projects with non-profits and UN agencies that engage with youths in Chile, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Australia, France and Bulgaria. He became a Trainer for European Commission Youth Program projects and the Children International Summer Village Organization (CISV) and designed methodologies in theatre and storytelling for social inclusion. He also took part and co-organized artistic residencies in France and the Netherlands and worked as an actor for several theatre companies and collectives in Europe and Australia. In 2012, Cortana founded the collective Inform’ART France, which brought together youth workers and artists. Among their projects, the collective drew upon the Human Library methodology to create a network of practitioners all over France. They also co-directed a short documentary, A land in between (2015) that told life trajectories of Sardinian migrants between France and Sardinia. He also took part in the youth delegation of the Festival Against Racism in Brussels and Montreal. Cortana is also a filmmaker currently completing a documentary about activist movements spreading the intersectional legacy of Afro-Brazilian activist and politician Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

At the Berkman Klein Center, he will further his academic research about Millennials’ mixed-race youth trans-mediatic representations and activism in France and overseas territory, the US and Brazil. He will investigate the development of digital ancestry and genealogy platforms and conduct fieldwork with mixed youths utilizing online tools to explore their roots and support collaborative activism. Cortana earned the EU Commission NOHA Masters in Humanitarian Assistance and holds a double-degree in Comparative Politics and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures at Sciences-Po Aix en Provence. He also received a BA in Cinema and Aesthetics from Panthéon Sorbonne University.

Projects & Tools

Youth and Media

Youth and Media (YaM) encompasses an array of research, advocacy, and development initiatives around youth (age 12-18) and digital technology. More


Feminism in India

Film Review – Marielle’s Legacy Will Not Die

A review of Leonard Cortana’s documentary “Marielle’s Legacy Will Not Die”

Jul 30, 2020

‘Marielle’s legacy will not die’

A review of Leonard Cortana’s short documentary

Jul 15, 2020

Living on in death

A review of Leonard Cortana’s short documentary 'Marielle’s Legacy Will Not Die'

Jul 15, 2020
News 18

'Another Marielle Franco Shouldn't Die': A Film Memorializing Slain Brazilian LGBT Activist

Documentary by Leonard Cortana screened at KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

Jul 8, 2020
Jeune Afrique

Her name was Marielle Franco…

Two years after the assassination of Marielle Franco, BKC fellow and filmmaker Leonard Cortana reflects on the subject of his documentary

Apr 7, 2020
Jeune Afrique

« Les Misérables », affaire classée ?

Leonard Cortana on why France’s entry for the Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards, Les Misérables, should be inscribed in the…

Feb 19, 2020
Jeune Afrique

Le « blackface », une hypocrisie française

Leonard Cortana on the inadequate response of the French media to racist incidents

Jan 31, 2020
Left Voice

“Marielle’s Legacy Will Not Die”

An interview with the documentary filmmaker and BKC fellow Leonard Cortana

Jan 7, 2020