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Directing the next generation of female filmmakers

The annual Film Frontera festival is happening March. 21 and is inviting female and non-binary filmmakers from the U.S.-Mexico border to submit their pieces. Photo courtesy of Femme Frontera

At any film festival you can find many eating popcorn or drinking refreshments with friends or family while waiting for the unique short films to start. You will see others finding their seats and everyone being welcomed by hosts and other performers.  

A community built on dedicating and supporting women and LGBTQIA+ filmmakers make this upcoming film festival happening March 21 a little more special and unique.  

The Latinx-led organization Femme Frontera was established in 2016 by six female and non-binary filmmakers from the U.S.-Mexico border regions. The organization wanted to highlight those films to celebrate the distinctive voices and stories of women and non-binary genders.  

While some women may lack opportunities to showcase their work in the film industry, as it is a field typically dominated by men, Femme Frontera supports and empowers these female and non-binary filmmakers to break through those barriers and find their path in the film industry.  

Director of Community Engagement, Jackie Barragan thinks being in this organization, which supports women, is good way to start as a filmmaker.   

“Create a venue of resources and a support group for female filmmakers because like many industries, the film industry is dominated by men,” Barragan said. “So, it’s nice because the whole mission is just to share voices that we rarely hear or see on the media.”  

The use of powerful storytelling in many of these short films presented during past festivals have put emphasis on women, border communities, immigrants and many other underrepresented voices and stories that people rarely hear or see.  

During their seventh annual festival last year, some of the films highlighted the struggles of motherhood, grieving the loss of a mother and others like immigration on the border. According to El Paso Matters, Femme Frontera Executive Director Angie Reza Tures, says stories like these are rarely seen or heard.   

“Stories from our region, stories from our border communities are so silenced and very rarely allowed to be consumed by the mainstream market,” Reza said. “We are always shut out and so for us, its breaking through those challenges.”  

Showcasing touching films that evoke a range of emotions in their viewers, Femme Frontera is not just about highlighting the work of filmmakers, it also offers workshops and various programs for young and adult female and non-binary filmmakers and sometimes even grants. 

 These grants include a film grant to increase and support content made by filmmakers from El Paso and Las Cruces and a screenwriting grant to help write scripts and develop screenwriting skills. Femme Frontera encourages female and non-binary filmmakers to apply for these two grants per year.  

“After a couple of years, we received $80,000 grants from the Ford Foundation, and it created a few jobs which is why I was able to get on the team,” Barragan said. “We are very focused on providing these grants to women across the border.”  

Many of these programs include a film lab where female filmmakers work together to create documentaries on the southwest border, as well as screenwriting seminars, documentary workshops, and numerous other activities available to women and kids.  

Femme Frontera has not released the lineup of directors and films showcased for their upcoming festival however, when the festival does come to town bring some friends along, load that popcorn with butter and catch a glimpse at the incredible unique films that the festival has.  

Visit Femme Frontera’s website for additional details about their upcoming festival or to learn how to become more involved in this community that uplifts and guides the next generation of future female filmmakers. 


Erik Acosta is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]  

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About the Contributor
Erik Acosta
Erik Acosta, Editor-in-Chief
Erik Acosta is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in theatre. He plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and print with hopes of working at LA times, Washington Post and ABC News.
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Directing the next generation of female filmmakers