When a Latina transwoman in East LA is on the verge of losing her daughter to child services, she begins to unravel as she is forced to confront her buried traumas and fears.
SPACESHIP is a character driven drama that explores the bond between mother and child in a world that doesn’t want them to be together. A story about not belonging anywhere and finding your place in the universe.
Maria has a unique relationship with her daughter, Alex. They both talk about their dreams, distant worlds, the stars and quests. Alex is into space exploration and wants to become an astronaut when she grows up, which Maria encourages. Supporting each other they have created an emotional safe space where they don’t feel alone in this world.
Social stigmas regarding gender transition and skin color coupled with the East LA Latino community’s religious conservatism place Maria and her daughter at odds, pushing them to a social purgatory / no man’s land and leaving them completely alone.
The idea is to submerge in to one moment of Maria’s life where we experience the complexity of the human condition through the eyes of a mother whose identity forces her into a central role in the much needed paradigm shift of the social institutions. It’s about how each of us fights and deals with our own battles in a unique way and discovering ourselves within the mess of our own chaos.
"I want to be free, not brave." This is what a sign I saw during a protest in my hometown said, and it encompasses how Maria, the protagonist of Spaceship, feels. It is also how my mother felt when she had to raise me while having a professional job and demanding career at a time where it wasn’t socially approved that women worked, especially in Guadalajara Mexico where I was born and raised.
She took me to her job because there wasn’t anyone available to take care of me. Her passion and dedication to her career and family had a huge impact on me, especially her strength to pull everything together in order to raise me. I could see that she struggled although she did a very good job in hiding it. The bond I have with my mother is what is fueling this story.
The imagery and magical aspects of my culture will always be a part of who I am and what I create. Growing up in a country with such a vast array of traditions and folklore but at the same time a harsh reality with corrupt governments, poverty and criminals that slaughter and disappear people every day, has shaped me. People trying to find light in life amidst this terrible reality is where I come from: an everyday struggle between hope and despair.
Growing up in this context and being an introverted person who has deeply struggled to find a sense of belonging, I’m drawn into narratives that are hidden in plain sight or that are constantly ignored. The beauty of broken things and how they compose and connect us.
When I moved to LA, I found the Latino communities struggling with the same social strictures that prevent people back home from being who they really are. All of this cultural phenomena is constantly evolving and in the middle of that tornado, Maria, is fighting her own battle.
Spaceship explores the intimate bond of a mother-child relationship in combination with a society that invalidates Maria’s capacity for being a mother. Maria is on a quest to find a place that acknowledges her existence.
A place to call home.
FESTIVALS + AWARDS
SLOAN FOUNDATION PRODUCTION GRANT
LERFILM PRODUCTION GRANT