Short director’s statement
In a world of walls, film is a window. I filmed The Chunta in hopes of breaking down the barriers between queer communities in the U.S. and Mexico. We need stories about LGBT people from around the world– their hopes and dreams, everyday lives and everyday struggles. For me, directing is deeply about connecting with community: at every stage of the life of a story– from the first conversation with a subject, to the film festival screen– I am most drawn to the relationships being built and how they allow us to collectively dream up previously unimaginable futures. I am also inspired by working with women and nonbinary filmmakers, and it has been empowering to collaborate with many talented creators who fight twice as hard to hold a camera in their hands. My directing style is shaped by my background as a community organizer and anthropologist. To make The Chunta, I spent years listening, observing, and participating together with the subjects prior to filming. It is an honor to be entrusted with their stories and a pleasure to share them with you.
Long director’s statement
Now is the time for films that challenge stereotypes about queer communities, Latinx people, and all those whose identities challenge societal norms. In a time of news cycles filled with hate, this new story of brotherhood and creativity is revolutionary.
As a female independent film director, and co-leader of the Portland chapter of Film Fatales, I believe in breaking expectations: I believe in women leading, innovating, and continuing to build a thriving film community for all filmmakers and audiences. I made this film as part of my dream of breaking down the wall between queer communities in the U.S. and Mexico. We need stories about GLBT people from around the world– their hopes and dreams, everyday lives and everyday struggles. We need to challenge stereotypes about Latinx identity and sexuality. This film is a powerful tool in the broader fight for GLBT visibility, rights, and happiness. We also need more female and GLBT filmmakers. As a queer woman and independent filmmaker, I have faced many challenges, but the support of a team of women and genderqueer crew members continues to inspire me.
My style as a film director is greatly influenced by my background as an anthropologist, as an editor, as an activist, and as an artist. I prioritize listening, observing, and participating together with the subjects of my film before shaping my interpretation of events. My work style often involves spending much more time with the camera turned off, building relationships that will allow me to access the heart of a story respectfully. As a director, I communicate the importance of communication and consent to my crew when interacting with subjects, especially in their homes, their sacred spaces, and when capturing intimate details of their story. For example, I spent three years filming The Chunta documentary, but prior to that I spent four years attending ceremonies, marches, shared meals, and community events to get to know as much as possible and tell the story in the way it deserved to be told.
Director, The Chunta