The 2022 Watsonville Film Festival will present their free film program online for 10 days in addition to a special event held at the Mello Center on Saturday, March 12.
(Watsonville Film Festival)
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Watsonville Film Festival celebrates 10th anniversary with expanded hybrid program

The Watsonville Film Festival (WFF) will come full circle as it celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a special in-person event at the Mello Center for the Performing Arts, where it all started in 2012. The Festival will also present an outstanding virtual film program for free, from March 11-20. The 2022 Cine Se Puede Fellowship, which offers support and mentorship to local emerging filmmakers, will also be a featured activity of the festival.

“We are excited and proud to celebrate a decade of the storytelling and artistry of the Latinx community in front of, and behind, the camera. This year we are presenting an incredibly powerful selection of films, most of them directed by women. We will also honor Josefina Lopez, a trailblazer Latina and playwright and screenwriter based in Los Angeles.”

— Consuelo Alba, Director of Watsonville Film Festival

Under the theme 10 Years Cultivating Community Through Film, the WFF will present a virtual program featuring more than 30 award-winning, local and student films from March 11-20 via its streaming channel at

This year’s films shine a light on Latinx art, activism, resistance and community. Highlights include Academy Award nominee The Mole Agent by director Maité Alberdi; double-Sundance winner Identifying Features by director Fernanda Valadez, and Mexican Ariel Award nominee Things We Dare Not Do by director Bruno Santamaría.

The Festival is collaborating for the first time with POV, the award-winning independent non-fiction film series on PBS, by presenting seven documentary films, including Fruits of Labor, a documentary by director Emily Cohen Ibañez following the life, dreams and challenges of a teenager and her family in Watsonville.

Read on to learn more about the expansive roster of amazing short films being shown at this year’s festival.


(Watsonville Film Festival)

Águilas / Eagles

Directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan & Maite Zubiaurre

Along the scorching desert border in Arizona, it is estimated that only one out of every five missing migrants are ever found. Águilas is the story of one group of searchers, the Águilas del Desierto. In these hostile and treacherous lands, every bone has a story. Presented in collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.

Watsonville Film Festival

(Watsonville Film Festival)

Lupita: Que retiemble la tierra

Directed by Mónica Wise Robles

In a country where indigenous people are increasingly displaced, their land stolen, where students disappear without trace following police arrest, and journalists are murdered at an alarming rate, a courageous new voice emerges. Lupita, a Tzotzil Maya massacre survivor, is at the forefront of a new movement of indigenous women.

Watsonville Film Festival

amor en cuarentena
(Watsonville Film Festival)

Amor en Cuarentena

Directed by Eugenia Rentería

During the pandemic, Emi feels stuck in a box, and from boredom or desperation, she starts looking for love… virtually. What can go wrong?

A local film.

(Watsonville Film Festival)


Directed by Marcus Cisneros | Produced by Gabriel J. Medina

After fleeing a civil war in Mexico, two undocumented laborers find work during a global pandemic in the US, only to discover they’ve been lured into a frightening situation.

The world premiere, created in collaboration local film makers and Digital Nest


Watsonville Film Festival

death and deathability
(Watsonville Film Festival)

Death and Deathability (A Period Piece)

Directed by Maria Victoria Ponce

Mystified by the unexpected arrival of her first period, Ceci (Blanca Ordaz) concludes she must be dying. She prepares a bucket list to accomplish on her final day, including her first real kiss and her own funeral, because death should be an art.

A local film

dial home
(Watsonville Film Festival)

Dial Home

Directed by Cesar Martinez Barba

Within the walls of a Tijuana call center, a feeling of being in limbo pervades. Homesickness floods the telephone line as call center personnel deported from the United States engage in conversations from across the US-Mexico border.

(Watsonville Film Festival)


Directed by Rodrigo Reyes | Produced by Andrew Houchens

Separated by years of immigration policy, a young girl dreams of meeting her grandmother for the first time. Thanks to the bi-national cooperation of governments on both sides of the US/Mexico border, her grandmother embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to reunite with her undocumented loved ones.

Watsonville Film Festival

first time home
(Watsonville Film Festival)

First Time Home

Co-directed by Heriberto Ventura, Noemi Librado Sanchez, Esmirna Librado & Esmeralda Ventura

When they learn their grandfather is ill, four cousins travel from their Indigenous Triqui immigrant community in California to their ancestral village in Mexico for the first time. The teens record videos to share with their family members, who are farmworkers in the U.S. Through a mixture of Spanish, Triqui, and English, they get to know their grandparents, aunts and uncles. The group of cousins forge a link across thousands of miles, with a newfound pride in their indigenous identity.

keeper of the fire
(Watsonville Film Festival)

Keeper of the Fire: Alejandro Murguía

Directed by David L. Brown and Louis F. Dematteis

Following the life and work of activist, author and San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia, Keeper of the Fire explores the roles this outspoken poet has played in the fight for a more just and equitable world.

A local film

la perla del pacifico
(Watsonville Film Festival)

La Perla Del Pacifico

Directed by Carlos Campos

Gambino and Anna set out to create a restaurant that would support their family; little did they know of the impact it would have on the small rural community of Watsonville.

A local film

oda a los frijoles
(Watsonville Film Festival)

Oda a los Frijoles

Co-created by Karolina Esqueda & Brenda Avila-Hanna

A literary and visual rendition of beans, Oda a los Frijoles merges a cooking recipe with archival footage of immigrants and fieldworkers, creating a parallel between tradition & immigration.

A local film

painter of dreams
(Watsonville Film Festival)

Painter of Dreams

Directed by Gabriel J. Medina

A short documentary about artist Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda and his effort to repaint his iconic “Dreams” mural at Watsonville High School after it was covered up. Named 2022 Santa Cruz Artist of the Year, Aranda creates his murals through an inclusive community process that involves mentoring young children and adults who want to learn and assist with painting. Aranda’s murals act as a mirror and a vibrant visual archive of collective dreams and memories, reminding us where we are and where we’ve been.

A local film

Watsonville Film Festival

to the future with love
(Watsonville Film Festival)

To the Future with Love

Directed by Shaleece Haas

Hunter “Pixel” Jiménez is a nonbinary teenager caught between the expectations of his Guatemalan immigrant family and his dreams of living happily ever after with his long-distance boyfriend. Presented in collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.

tony's cakes
(Watsonville Film Festival)

Tony’s Cakes

Directed by Tony Holman & Vida deKayla

A man with a troubled past finds redemption in building his own bakery in the East Bay.

Watsonville Film Festival

25 texans
(Watsonville Film Festival)

25 Texans in the Land of Lincoln

Directed by Ellen Brodsky

Join the quest with 25 intrepid history students – mostly Mexican American – who drive 2,000 miles from the Alamo in Texas to a Springfield, Illinois museum. Their mission? Asking to repatriate General Santa Anna’s prosthetic leg to Mexico and honoring Abraham Lincoln with a Day of the Dead altar. With humor, humility, animation, the film raises questions of identity, borders, museum ethics, and collective memory.


Watsonville Film Festival

In addition to various short films by local students...

next gen shorts
(Watsonville Film Festival)
  • Event
    10th Annual Watsonville Film Festival
    Presenting 30+ award-winning and local films online from March 11-20, this year’s festival will also feature a special in-person program celebrating 10th anniversary of WFF with “Real Women Have Curves” at the Mello Center on Saturday, March 12 from 6:00 - 8:30 PM.
    Saturday, March 12, 2022 - 6:00 PM