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Coming of Age Film ‘Mosquita y Mari’ to Screen at CSU Channel Islands

A still from Aurora Guerrero’s ‘Mosquita y Mari.’
A still from Aurora Guerrero’s ‘Mosquita y Mari.’

Two teen girls growing up in East Los Angeles struggle with the pressures of school, poverty, undocumented status and budding sexuality in the award-winning movie Mosquita y Mari, which will be screened on the CSU Channel Islands campus from 5–8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015.

The campus community and general public is invited to the movie, which is sponsored by CI’s Center for Multicultural Engagement.

CI Assistant Professor of English Georgina Guzmán, Ph.D., who is on the advisory board that helped choose the movie, said she thinks the coming-of-age film provides an empathic dramatization of the pressures of being a 15-year-old girl exploring her sexual identity through the character Mari, who hangs on to dreams threatened by the economic realities of her undocumented status.

The other, Mosquita, is burdened with the expectations of immigrant parents who constantly remind her of all they sacrificed for her.

“It shows both the struggles of undocumented youth and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) struggles of coming out,” Guzmán said. “It's a poignantly-crafted story and it's very effective in humanizing and raising awareness about the types of conditions these girls experience.”

After the movie, which will be shown in the Petit Salon, there will be a Q&A session with the movie’s writer and director, Aurora Guerrero.

Born to Mexican immigrant parents in San Francisco and growing up in the East Bay area, Guerrero later moved to Los Angeles and studied directing at the California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita.

Released in 2012, Mosquita y Mari was Guerrero’s feature film debut at the Sundance Film Festival, making her the first Chicana filmmaker to debut a feature-length film who was also a Sundance Institute and Ford Foundation Fellow.

In a release about the film, Guerrero said Mosquita y Mari was semi-autobiographical, exploring the feelings she had for a girlfriend as a teenager, long before Guerrero identified herself as a lesbian.

“I didn’t grow up in a household where my parents forewarned me that if I turned out to be gay they would disown me,” Guerrero said. “Instead the message was subtle. It was hidden in the silences around sex and desire. It was implied in society’s expectations … like you only experience those feelings of love and desire with the opposite sex.”

Limited parking is available on campus with the purchase of a $6 daily permit; follow signs to the parking permit dispensers. Free parking is available at the Camarillo Metrolink Station/Lewis Road with bus service to and from the campus. 

Riders should board the CI Vista Bus to the campus; the cash-only fare is $1.25 each way. Buses arrive and depart from the Camarillo Metrolink Station every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. For exact times, check the schedule at www.goventura.org.

— Kim Gregory is a communications specialist for CSU Channel Islands.

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