Torah Tropical

Director Jimmy Ferguson and Co-Director Gloria Nancy Monsalve, Producers Ezra Axelrod, Heidi Paster Harf, David Restrepo
Torah Tropical


In a tropical paradise turned dystopia by war and exclusion, a struggling Colombian family of Orthodox Jewish converts upend their lives in an attempt to make aliyah, putting their faith to the ultimate test.

Phase of Support: Post-Production

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Jimmy Ferguson

Jimmy Ferguson - Director

Jimmy Ferguson is a multicultural, award-winning film artist with deep experience in all stages of production spanning fiction/narrative, documentary, commercials, and contemporary art. His narrative and documentary shorts have premiered at Mill Valley, DOC NYC, Maryland, Salento International, and Newport Beach Film Festivals. Jimmy’s honors include: LA Filmmaker of the Year (2008), a Jerome Foundation grant (2014), and a QCA Artist Commission (2019). He participated in IFP’s Project Forum (2013) and EAVE’s Ties That Bind (2017). Jimmy won a CINDY Gold Award for his #NotAFan campaign against domestic violence (2017). His debut hybrid feature Am I Don Quixote? is slated to premiere in 2022. Jimmy is a current member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective. Jimmy has a keen interest in contemporary spirituality, is fluent in Spanish, and is fascinated by Colombian narratives.


ThisTopia - Producers

ThisTopia is a creative partnership between husbands Ezra Axelrod and David Restrepo focused on developing and producing defiant Latin American stories at the forefront of global paradigm shifts. Current projects are Torah Tropical and The Coca Codex. ThisTopia emboldens Latin American storytellers whose lives show novel, seductive pathways through some of the world’s most pressing challenges: the war on drugs, predatory capitalism, violent hetero-patriarchy, exile and migration, religious and colonial exclusion, and climate collapse. As the world strays towards accelerating upheaval, our projects and communities seek to inspire narratives of adaptation and regeneration.

Ezra Axelrod

Ezra Axelrod - Producer

Creative Director of the ThisTopia, Ezra produces film projects focused on subversive identities and countercultures, regenerative psychoactive plant economies, and social and environmental justice. Originally from La Grande, Oregon, Ezra is also a music composer for film, TV and contemporary dance trained at The Royal College of Music in London, now living in Cali, Colombia. He has also worked as a digital content producer at Ogilvy PR and DawBell PR in London.

David Restrepo

David Restrepo - Producer

David is an economic, cultural, and environmental innovator from Cali, who, through his company Aguacatal Ventures, develops community regeneration initiatives in Southwest Colombia. As co-founder of ThisTopia, David produces transmedia storytelling projects that are at the forefront of paradigm shift. He is also a researcher at the Center for the Study of Security and Drugs (CESED) at the University of the Andes in Bogota. After 10 years working as a strategy consultant in London, where he advised Fortune 500 companies, he returned to Colombia to spearhead transformational projects such as creating a licit market for coca leaf, and thus put an end to the catastrophic War on Drugs.

Heidi Paster Harf

Heidi Paster Harf - Producer

Heidi is an American photographer who lived in Cali, Colombia for nearly 20 years. Her photo essay about the lives of the emerging Jews of Cali was published in April 2021 in The Washington Post Magazine. Through her company Uncaged Capital, Heidi connects international investors with unique opportunities to support cutting-edge stories from Colombia, bringing international audiences intimate access into the everyday “magical realism” that this country is known for, but that so few have truly seen up close. After living through some of Cali’s most violent years, Heidi knows first-hand the havoc wrought by the US’s Drug War, and is passionate about facilitating regenerative projects in this captivating place.

Project logline and bios courtesy of the grantees.