Mosquita y Mari is a feature length film by Queer Chicana filmmaker Aurora Guerrero. The film tells the story of two middle school aged Chicanas from Huntington Park, CA who grow feelings for each other as they endure difficult times at school and at home. The coming of age story is based on Guerrero’s experience with a friend when she was thirteen-years-old. The film is set in the Southeast LA neighborhood of Huntington Park and encompasses many bicultural components such as a bilingual soundtrack and narrative.
The plot breaks boundaries as it contains issues of gender and sexuality which are issues that are often taboo for many Latina/o families. This is the first motion picture to represent an intimate emotional and sexual experience between two Latina teens. Guerrero’s location of choice, Huntington Park, makes a refreshing appearance as neighborhoods in Southeast LA are rarely seen on camera and are often over shadowed by ethnic neighborhoods like Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. One of Guerrero’s goals was to make her project as community oriented as possible, this included casting actors of the area. Her choice of music: ska, Latino pop, and rock en español, gives the story the unique feel of what it is to grow up in a Latino/a community within Los Angeles.
In mid 2011 prior to the release of the film, Guerrero spoke at a Chicana/Latina feminist conference in Cal State Long Beach organized by Concienca Femenil, a chicana/latina identified organization on campus. As a panelist for the conference, she spoke of her film’s storyline and characters. She talked about the financial difficulties faced by independent filmmakers like herself and shared that she had to make many difficult budgeting decisions like using Los Angeles as an alternate setting to her original vision of using her hometown, San Francisco, as it was a less expensive setting. Her main economic support for the film was kickstarter, an online fund raising tool in which people can help fund different independent projects . Her audience was a group of perdominantly Chicana/Latina college students who were eager to help out and spread the word about the project. In an interview with NPR Guerrero speaks of the support she had received during the fundraiser, “I mean it was just … wild,” Guerrero says. “People were Facebooking, tweeting … everyone was rooting for Mosquita y Mari to make it.”
Since then the film has appeared at the San Diego Latino Film Festival and most notably at the Sundance Film Festival. Guerrero has shown her gratitude for the city of Huntington Park, California by holding an exclusive film screening at the Edward’s theatre in South Gate, a neighboring community.
Film’s like Mosquita y Mari are opening the doors for more representative subjects in the Latina/Chicana community. Despite financial issues, Guerrero proves that it can be done with the help of a community that seeks to see stories and experiences like theirs on screen
Mosquita y Mari is the first Chicana film to go to Sundance.