cholitas movie poster
(Watsonville Film Festival )
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Watsonville Film Festival spotlights women in film and community

Since 2012, the Watsonville Film Festival (WFF) has made it a point to celebrate and uplift women behind, and in front of, the camera. In 2021, WFF will continue this tradition, presenting a program where the majority of films are directed by women and/or focused on women. This year, the Festival is also partnering with the Watsonville International Women’s Day Coalition to celebrate local women who are challenging the status quo during a special online event Monday, March 8 at 7pm.

This year, 11 of the 20 films presented by the Watsonville Film Festival (WFF) are directed by or focused on women. Since its inception in 2012, WFF has shared many documentaries and fiction films directed, produced, edited by and starring women. In an industry dominated by men, WFF believes it is imperative to celebrate female-identified filmmakers and stories.

Don’t forget that this year’s festival will be virtual and free for all! WFF knows that art is crucial to keep people connected and inspired, and that everyone should have access to powerful films. Make sure to go to to watch films at your leisure, March 5-13.

Below are exclusive trailer releases for our upcoming feature film lineup:


Among the selected films for the ninth edition of the Festival is Cholitas, a documentary that follows five indigenous Bolivian women climbing the highest mountain of the Americas. Wearing bright skirts, they rise above the traditional and expected roles of Aymara women.

(Watsonville Film Festival)

This inspiring film was nominated for seven Goya awards in Spain. In Spanish and Aymara with English subtitles. Screening sponsored by the Katz-Lapides Family Fund and co-presented with Watsonville International Women’s Day Coalition.

Corazón de Mezquite

Corazón de Mezquite, directed by Ana Laura Calderón. This fiction film follows the life of Lucia, an indigenous Yoreme girl living in northern Mexico.

Watonville Film Festival  poster
(Watsonville Film Festival )

Lucia is fighting for her dream against her community’s tradition of not allowing women to play the harp. Along the way, she tries to connect with her father and find her place in her community. In Spanish and Yoreme, with English subtitles. Limited tickets available.

Our Quinceañera

Watsonville Film Festival

Our Quinceañera documents a high school principal in San Benito, a small town in Texas, who hosts a yearly coming-of-age Quinceañera celebration for students who can’t afford it.

Watonville Film Festival  poster
(Watsonville Film Festival )

The entire border town gets together to teach these girls that with the power of community, any dream can come true. In English and Spanish, with English subtitles. Sponsored by Attorney Alberto Garcia. Limited tickets available.

La felicidad en la que vivo (The Happiness in Which I Live)

Watsonville Film Festival

Meet Samantha Flores as she feeds hummingbirds, dances away and shares her dream of opening a center for the LGBTQ elder community. This short documentary from Mexico City captures the essence of this fascinating 88 year-old transgender woman, and will surely bring a smile to your face. In Spanish, with English subtitles.

Watonville Film Festival  poster
(Watsonville Film Festival )

We are proud to present these films and more, for free. We are also excited to partner with the Watsonville International Women’s Day Coalition to honor local women who are making outstanding contributions to our community.

For the past five years, the Watsonville International Women’s Day Coalition has celebrated women on March 8 with a community event in the Watsonville Plaza. Although the pandemic prevents us from being together in person, we are excited to virtually co-host this event with them. We will recognize local, female-identified leaders who fit the theme of “Choose To Challenge” in all that they do. From education to health care to civic engagement and advocacy for our vulnerable neighbors, these women are bravely calling out inequity and helping to create a more inclusive world for us all.

Sneak peek: The Guardian of Memory

view from inside house
(Watsonville Film Festival)

Other women-directed films to watch out for are The Guardian of Memory, by Marcela Arteaga, winner of an Ariel (Mexican Academy Award) for best documentary, and El Sembrador / The Sower, by Melissa Elizondo, audience choice for Best Documentary at the Morelia International Film Festival.

About the Watsonville Film Festival

We are a non-profit arts organization founded in 2012 by Watsonville-based filmmakers and educators. WFF showcases primarily Latinx stories and uses film as a catalyst to educate, entertain and inspire audiences; to spark powerful conversations and to promote positive impact. See our year-round program at

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    The Watsonville Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit, your tip supports filmmakers, as well as our ongoing work curating films, conversations & events!

2021 WFF is made possible with generous support from:

California Arts Council

Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

Arts Council Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz Community Credit Union

Ainsley-Hicks Family Foundation

Rebecca & Bud Colligan

Ow Family Properties


Katz-Lapides Family Fund

Attorney Alberto Garcia

Councilmember Rebecca Garcia

Amigos del Festival

Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival

My Mexico Tours

Exclusive Media Sponsor

Lookout Santa Cruz

Community Partners

Digital NEST

Kuumbwa Jazz Center

Cabrillo College EOPS

Estrellas de Esperanza

Voices of Monterey Bay

Snazzy Productions

EPF Media