True/False Conversations: Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía “Beba” Contreras celebrate activism and art in 'Hummingbirds'
The documentary film Hummingbirds is a portrait of friendship that documents and celebrates activism, art and joy in a border town.
22-year-old Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and 25-year-old Estefanía "Beba" Contreras both star in and direct the film— in which they navigate life in Laredo, Texas in the summer of 2019.
As a part of this year's True/False Conversations, KBIA’s Halle Jackson spoke with Castaños and Contreras about making this personal film. Here’s an excerpt from their conversation.
Halle Jackson: Just to get us started, I was hoping that you could tell us a little bit just about what the film is about?
Silvia Del Carmen Castaños: Yeah, I can start. The film is about Estefanía and I as teenagers running around our hometown of Laredo, Texas, which is a border town in Texas, right next to Mexico.
And the film touches upon the summer of 2019... of us, you know, coping through these things. We're in this like, limbo of life, right? Where Estefanía and I are dealing with a lot of things,. Healing from abortion inaccessibility as well as [immigration] status of Estefanía and my mother, and dealing with all these things through love, and joy and joking.
Jackson: This film just had its world premiere at the Berlinale Film Festival. First of all, congratulations on that. What was the experience like?
Castaños: It's like crazy. It's wild. It's a bunch of German people clapping at us. It's really cool. I think, you know, I say this a lot where it's so funny. And when we started making this film, we were like, 'Oh, this is just gonna play at our local Alamo Drafthouse and we're going to, you know, get our friends and family to watch it' and that's the extent of this art that we made. And it's like, now we're in Berlin for a world premiere.
Estefanía Contreras: Yeah, it was really, really exciting. I feel like there was a lot of different emotions, obviously. Being that it's the first time that we're showing it to just a lot of people, just basically to the world, was really exciting. I mean, this is just like, barely starting to take off I feel.
Jackson: Are audiences excited about it?
Contreras: Oh, my God. Yes. After, the Q&A that we had, we had a bunch of younger people come up to us and be very appreciative of the film, and them telling us that they love it. It's so nice to hear from the younger filmmaking community.
Jackson: Do you feel like the film resonates a little bit more with younger people?
Castaños: Oh, I think it resonates with everyone in the sense of... I think younger people see it, and they're like, 'Oh, I do that. I'm doing all that. I'm like, hanging out,' or are also like, 'I want to be cool. And I want to do that.' And then, talking to older generations, them being like, 'Oh, I used to do that. I used to run around, doing things like those. And you know, those are the good times, and you made me feel like a kid again.'
I think it resonates with a lot of people in different ranges, whether it's being that you're about to get to that age, you are at that age, you have passed that age. And a lot of it is just very, very beautiful to just hear the same things from different people.
Jackson: And just one more thing before I let y'all go. I saw this quote from the film: "I want to remember this time, last time and next time. I want to remember it with no parts missing. Because I appreciate even the bad times." I was hoping you could tell me a little bit more about what this means to you.
Contreras: Yeah. So that line, and the one that says it in the film, like what Silvia was saying, how we're going through these intense times, and talking about some really important and serious topics in the film, we do use humor a lot to cope with all of that. And, I mean, ever since I met Silvia, I feel like it's been that way.