Native Lab Fellow Aurora Guerrero Reflects on a Frenetic Festival
It's been months since premiering Mosquita y Mari at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and I think I'm still in a daze over the whole thing. It came and went like the unpredictable weather patterns here in Northern California. I remember calling my spouse when I had first arrived in Park City, a few days before my premiere, and sharing that I felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz – straight picked up off the ground and dropped into another world. A world that I thought I knew.
I had been to Sundance with a short film and I had participated in the Native/Indigenous Lab as a Fellow, but let me tell you, NOTHING compares to having a feature film at the Festival. It's a crazy combination of being a cast and family wrangler, reception and press hopper, hand-shaker, bus rider, sudden expert (in my case on all things queer and Latina), facebook and twitter maniac, and sometimes—though rarely—a movie-goer. All of this while wearing three layers of clothes and totally sober (I think I was in the 1% for once in my life). Mind you, this isn't a complaint. I'm merely pointing out that having a feature film screen at the Sundance Film Festival is a crazy whirlwind of activity. And that's part of what makes Sundance so thrilling and unforgettable. You're thrust into a world that is eager and hyper about being the first to watch and discuss the work that you and your team so diligently produced. It makes you feel, well, special. And the best part about this adventure is sharing it with the ones dearest to you who make it to Park City. In my case, my family, my wife, the MyM team of artists, and my 20 queer Xicana homegirls (gotta have back-up).
And while Sundance provides those big life events for a filmmaker to treasure for eternity, I have to confess that my most memorable times stem from some of the smaller moments I experienced while there. Like feeling the warmth of my wife's hand clasped around mine as we made our long trek up icy Main Street to the Egyptian Theater for my premiere. Or my long embrace with Indigenous Lab Director Bird Runningwater right before he introduced me to my first Sundance audience. That hug felt like home to me. Or the moment when my two, young lead actors who had never left their beloved Los Angeles snatched the microphone from my hand and with sassy, adolescent frustration addressed an audience member's suspect question: “Hey, was there like something between you two?”
I don't know if I'll have another journey quite like this one but at least I know I have plenty of memories to play back in my mind – at least until I make new ones!