In the media a “Latina” actress can fall under many strange categories, and let’s face it–some are not so great. What is the assimilation process for immigrant women performers today? What kind of associations are made for the political title, Latina? We don’t have all the answers, but we want to express (in our own way) how ridiculous these processes are for women performers with immigrant backgrounds.
This film, by young University of California-Berkeley graduates Samanta Cubias and Rosa Navarrete, drew inspiration from CultureStrike’s art-activism initiative, UndocuNation. Here, Cubias and Navarrete share thoughts about working with and busting out of stereotypes through theater and film:
UndocuNation seems to be the appropriate venue to share our struggles as performers (for dance, theater, and film). Sometimes it seems like in order to be given a role you must strip yourself from all your ‘Latina-ness’ or over-dramatize it in order to fit a stereotype. With the help of Luna (a pug who gets judged for not being Chihuahua enough for a Taco Bell commercial) and Jean Luc (a sassy puppet with an eccentric accent) we will share our experiences as students, lady performers, and daughters of immigrant parents.
We hope the video expresses how immigration affects not just those who physically cross the border, but also the generations that come after them. We believe that confidence, a sense of self, and a desire to belong (acceptance) can be affected by someone’s immigration status and history. These issues are then amplified when we are bombarded with negative portrayals of ‘Hispanic/Latino’ themes in the arts and media. This short film will show how some choose to carry the pain of the past, and how some choose to ignore it in order to forget. Our goal is to inspire and have people question the problems that we see on our stages, in our movies, and on television shows. We want to share our personal stories, and how the pressures of assimilation have affected us as performers. How is immigration being portrayed in our country? How are people of color being portrayed? Our wish is that someday, generations after ours will perform any role without the need to fit into a mold.
The subject of immigration and migrant rights continues to influence both our lives. To us, immigration is not an act with a clear beginning or end, it is a cultural phenomenon that affects everyone that surrounds it. We hope you enjoy the film.
Written and Directed by: Rosa Navarrete & Samanta Cubias
Director of Photography: Lucía Sanchez/Lux Nueve Actor: Alex Bonte
Learn more about Navarrete‘s work at her blog.