Luciela, an incredibly moving short film about a young girl who gets reminded how her family has been torn apart on her favorite holiday, premiered today on the PBS Short Film Festival running from July 12-23. The film,directed by Erin Ploss-Campoamor,is available now on all PBS and station digital platforms, including PBS.org, YouTube and the PBS Video App and is a co-production of Mare’s Hoof Production and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB). CLICK HERE to watch Luciela. The short tells the story ofa fiercely independent Mexican-American girl who loves the 4th of July because every year her Papi throws a huge party. He does one of the best firework shows in Lincoln Heights —their immigrant neighborhood in Los Angeles which delights all. But this year he can’t, because he’s been deported. So Luciela decides to set off a few sparks of her own.
“I first conceived of this story a few years ago. A friend invited me to her home in Lincoln Heights, to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July. If you are not familiar with Lincoln Heights, it is a mostly Latinx, mostly immigrant neighborhood, up in the hills of Los Angeles,” shared filmmaker Erin Ploss-Campoamor. “It felt especially poignant that I was experiencing this in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood, knowing that immigrant rights were actively under threat and xenophobia was on the rise. I loved that this community was celebrating our country’s Independence Day so loudly and proudly. Filling the sky, saying, “See us! Hear us! We are here! From that experience, the seeds of this story were planted.”
“Luciela” represents the experiences of many children whose families live in the shadow of deportation,” shares Sandie Viquez Pedlow, Executive Director of Latino Public Broadcasting. “Sadly, this is an unfortunate reality in our country. Latino Public Broadcasting is proud to work with Erin Ploss-Campoamor to bring films such as “Luciela”” to the forefront and hopefully create a better understanding of these divisive issues and the consequences to our young children.”
The festival features 25 short-form independent films presented in six categories: culture, family, humanity, identity, race and society. And for the first time in the festival’s history, all 25 films will be presented in virtual reality, accessible on any VR device. Audiences can also use a computer without a headset and still look around 360 degrees.
The PBS Short Film Festival is part of a multiplatform initiative to increase the reach and visibility of independent filmmakers from across the country and amplify the voices of diverse content creators. Since its inception in 2012, hundreds of films celebrating love, acceptance, family, strength, equality, friendship, loyalty and more have been presented under the festival’s banner. The 2021 festival carries the tagline “A Decade of Being Seen” as a reminder that the festival has always striven to amplify the untold stories of America.
Starting at midnight on Monday, July 12, audiences can watch and share all 25 films. In addition, a panel of nine jury members will select their favorite film of the festival for the Juried Prize.
Jury members are respected professionals in independent film and public media and were invited by PBS to participate. This year’s jury members include Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, International Documentary Association; Nina Gilden Seavey, Documentary Filmmaker and Former Documentary Center Director for GW; Judith Vecchione, Executive Producer, WGBH Educational Foundation; Mike Sargent, Producer and Host, Reelworld/Nightshift; Eric Gulliver, Producer, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE; Adnaan Wassey, Digital Media Executive, formerly of POV; Wendy Llinas, Senior Director, PBS National Programming; Jada Leng, Senior Director, PBS National Programming; and Ximena Amescua, Artists Programs Coordinator, Firelight Media & Films.