From your webjefa:
I’ve been following the production and success of Aurora Guerrero’s Mosquita y Mari for a while now. I was fortunate enough to meet Aurora back in the late 90s when she screened one of her first short films, Ixchel, for my class in Chicana Feminisms at Occidental College. It’s been a pleasure to see her career blossom, and see her newest project, Mosquita y Mari, take multiple honors including Sundance and the SF International Film Fest.
Mosquita & Mari is a Chicana coming of age that was recently reviewed in the New York Times as “unassuming indie jewel, [that] resists all of the clichés that its story of the fraught friendship between two 15-year-old girls invites.”
WaH: You were very deliberate in putting together grassroots partnerships like the one with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) to help get the film done. Talk about that experience and what you learned from it?
AG: I didn’t want to do what so many entitled people do to marginalized communities. I didn’t want to just take from this community and not give anything in return. Ideally, I think there should be a partnership between you and the community you’re documenting. If they open up their doors to you, then in what ways can you be of use to them? That’s the question I came to CBE with. I wanted to make sure Mosquita y Mari was somehow beneficial to the community of Huntington Park. Together, CBE and I developed a hands-on mentorship program for the youth in the area. Anyone interested in media was brought on to the film and mentored by one of the department heads, depending on the interest of the young person. CBE and I also talked about making the film available to the community however possible, especially because it can serve as a tool to talk about identity within an immigrant community. I went into this partnership with CBE a firm believer in its potential to make filmmaking a positive and powerful experience for many. I guess I walked away re-affirmed that collaborating in this way is how I’m meant to work as a filmmaker.
WaH: What was the one mistake you made that you will do differently next time?
AG: There were a couple of times I didn’t trust my instinct and paid for it. No more of that!
WaH: What advice do you have for other female filmmakers?
AG: Don’t shy away from telling the story you want to tell. I think we often look for permission to be able to make the films we deep down want to make. Give yourself that! I bet if you allow yourself to create freely you’ll probably end up with something unique.