Opening Night: HUMMINGBIRDS

Director(s): Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Estefanía “Beba” Contreras

Film description: In Texas, on the Mexican border, best friends Silvia and Beba dance through long summer nights. Stuck in the immigration process in a politically divided America, home seems fragile. But their bond is not. The half-light is a space for poetry and dreams.

Programmers notes: A southern Texas town on the Mexican border. Two Mexican-American millennials with personal stakes in legal abortion access, LGBTQ rights, and immigration status in a state that continues to pass far-right legislation. You see where this is headed, right? Wrong. Where other documentaries might push trauma to the fore, HUMMINGBIRDS glows with the effervescent joy of two friends creating their own playful reality, transforming stormy political clouds into raw material for fun and purpose. Directors and stars Silvia Del Carmen Castaños & Estefanía “Beba” Contreras’s first feature is a revelation. Together with their collaborators, they’ve crafted at once a DIY, queer docu-Dazed and Confused and a major triumph in self-portraiture on film. And while much of the magic of Hummingbirds comes from its cultural specifics, it speaks with a universal language: the mutual love and respect of a lasting close friendship. I can’t think of a better note on which to open the first New/Next Film Festival.

Producer(s): Jillian Schlesinger, Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, Leslie Benavides, Ana Rodríguez-Falcó, Diane Ng, Rivkah Beth Medow

Editor(s): Isidore Bethel, Jillian Schlesinger

Cinematographer(s): Miguel Drake-McLaughlin

Country of origin: USA

Principal cast: Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Estefanía “Beba” Contreras

Language: English, Spanish

Year: 2023

Duration: 78 minutes

Premiere status: Maryland premiere