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The Quinceañera or Quince Años (sometimes represented XV Años, meaning "fifteen years") is, in some Spanish-speaking regions of the Americas, a young woman's celebration of her fifteenth birthday, which is celebrated in a unique and different way from her other birthdays. The word is also used to refer to the young woman whose 15th birthday is being celebrated (analogous to the word cumpleañera for "birthday girl"). -Wikepedia
I first met the exceptional family that appears in this documentary in 1998, while volunteering in Tijuana, Mexico with a spring break group. Because of housing difficulties our group encountered, Lili, her husband Toni, and their 6 children took us into their humble home and housed most of our 15 person group for the remaining 8 days of the work project. This was just beginning of the generosity and love that I witnessed from them over the years. Ana Maria, the Quinceañera in this film was 10 years old then, a little firecracker of a girl with big glasses that barely fit her face. I remember roller-skating with her hand in hand at a rink we all visited one night. For such a short trip I felt a surprisingly deep connection to the family and the community.
Around two years later I would return with Derek To Tijuana where I stayed for two months learning and living and doing volunteer work. This solidified my relationship with the family and I have continued to visit them for varying amounts of time over the years, including a two-month stint in 2003 when I shot this documentary. I have attended 3 of the other daughter's Quince Años celebrations as well, and had the honor of being the Padrino de Vestido (sponsor of the dresses) at the twin's and Ana Maria's Quinceañera. Seeing this complex tradition, and the family's spirit to throw these celebrations, despite the many challenges they faced, inspired me. Thus the idea for the documentary was born. This would be the last Quinceañera for the family and was a very important event for the whole family.
I thank the family deeply for allowing me to film their lives. I have shown the film to the family and they approve and enjoy it. Lili Stated, "now I can die in peace," which may be going too far but was a nice compliment! This story will be of interest to many; those that are coming of age and their families, those interested in Mexican and Hispanic culture, and ultimately those interested in witnessing the human spirit and it’s fruits of courage, faith, love, hope and perseverance.
About me the director:
I am a documentary film director from Boulder, Colorado. My films include "La Quinceañera," "Don Angelo," and my current project "El Duque de la Bachata." La Quinceañera won the 2007 award for Best Documentary at the Angelus Student Film Festival in Hollywood, California and Best Documentary at the San Diego Latino Film Festival. As I mentioned I am currently working on a film project entitled "El Duque de la Bachata" with Joan Soriano, a bachata and merengue musician from the Dominican Republic. I hope to continue exploring the world through documentary film, telling insightful stories that inspire.
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