In Focus: Aurora Guerrero on Los Valientes / The Brave Ones

Filmmaker Aurora Guerrero.  

Filmmaker Aurora Guerrero.


Two-time SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant Winner; $25,000 for packaging, Fall 2013 and $35,000 for screenwriting, Fall 2012.

What was the inspiration for this story?

Los Valientes comes from a place of connections and intersections. It's inspired by the undocumented community—including members of my own family—and by my queer identity.


What do you see as the greatest challenges for filmmakers today? 

The film industry continues to be a business. Within this dominant model and structure many, many filmmakers struggle to tell the stories they want to tell. It's a challenge that won't go away as long as the arts and art-makers are seen through the lens of profit-making.


What new opportunities are making the biggest difference to your filmmaking process?

I think it's the way word of mouth gets out there that has had a significant impact on my process. Back in the day (like five years ago) it was about picking up the phone and calling someone to tell them about a film they saw or a filmmaker they like. It was about hanging out with friends, shooting the sh*t, and discovering emerging talent through those casual conversations. Word of mouth took time to travel within these very personal spaces. Now, forget it! Word can travel while people are experiencing a film or a filmmaker. It's in the moment. Forget the phone call. It's now a tweet or a Facebook post or a Tumblr post that reaches beyond your immediate network of friends in a matter of seconds. This has definitely changed how I work and they way people experience my work. Building a proactive community and audience around a film can happen in 30 days, like it happened for me with Mosquita y Mari on Kickstarter. That word of mouth within the cyberworld has launched my career. I love it. I like the ability to engage with audiences from the very beginning. There's a momentum it creates that keeps filmmakers like me on the map and inspired to keep creating.


Describe what impact San Francisco Film Society support has had on the film.

SFFS has been a tremendous source of support for me while developing Los Valientes. The grant support has kept the film inching forward in significant ways. It's helped me dedicate my focus on developing the script and it's now helping us hire the right people to help bring this vision I have to life. It's very exciting to have the team at SFFS get behind me as a filmmaker. Without a doubt their support translates into a vote of confidence. Michele Turnure-Salleo is amazing! She's always looking out, trying to find ways to support me creatively. I'm very grateful to have a Bay Area film institution by my side as I continue to grow as a filmmaker.

The Spring 2014 SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant round is currently open to apply!

The Film Society has established an excellent track record of success with the 37 projects previously funded by SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grants, with supported films winning top honors at the world’s premier festivals, garnering critical and popular acclaim and capturing the imaginations of audiences worldwide. As the grant program continues to grow, more and more exceptional independent features will join the distinguished company of such films as Short Term 12, Destin Cretton’s sophomore feature which won both the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at South by Southwest 2013; Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale Station, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the narrative category at Sundance 2013 and is an Oscar hopeful in multiple categories; and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin’s debut phenomenon which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Cannes’ Camera d’Or in 2012 and earned four Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture).