I definitely underestimated the amount of free time and energy I would have to write about all my Sundance experience. There is a lot going on here folks!
Another film I checked off my must-see was MOSQUITA Y MARI by Aurora Guerrero. Following in vein of FILLY BROWN, MYM is another refreshing contemporary portrait of Latino culture on film made by and starring Latinos. The story of two high school sophomore girls and their budding friendship is lovely on screen, although I do wish the script/performances hadn’t been so safe. Guerrero said that she always knew her “love story was as good as anyone else’s, as valid as anyone else’s.” However, to call it a lesbian coming of age story is a bit of a reach, in my opinion.
Official Sundance synopsis: With this auspicious feature film debut, Aurora Guerrero explores the complexities of a budding friendship between two Chicana high schoolers in Los Angeles’s Huntington Park. Yolanda is stellar in her studies and makes her parents proud, while Mari has just moved to town with her undocumented family. On her first day of school, Mari is assigned to be Yolanda’s study partner. After a rocky start, the two find a bond that confuses them at times. Guerrero’s steady direction allows more intimate understanding of the girls’ aspirations and their families’ expectations.
The Q&A was very insightful. Guerrero was glowing with excitement as she thanked everyone involved. The film took 7 years to make and was funded like crazy by a multitude of film organizations such as IFP and TriBeCa All-Access. They were also part of the Native Indigenous Filmmaker Lab at Sundance. And then they even made their $80,000 Kickstarter goal. It showed to be a labor of love for everyone involved.
The most beautiful moment of the night was when Guerrero talked about coming-out twice: once as a lesbian and second as filmmaker. She summed up her arduous 7 year journey so simply: “I never stopped walking.”