Film in Focus: Quince

Home is the place where we feel we belong, and our identity has strong roots in the friends and family we share experiences with. In Quince, Cristina Gonzalez explores these themes in a story that echoes emotions faced by her and her friends. A quinceañera traditionally welcomes a young lady into adulthood, and Gonzalez’ directorial debut announces her promising future as a compelling storyteller. 

A year ago, Gonzalez knew she wanted to write a film revolving around a quinceañera. It’s a beautiful part of Latinx culture, but it took some time for her to develop a plot line revolving around this special celebration. Her inspiration came from several real-life incidents that helped Gonzalez connect with the emotions the main character, Diana (portrayed by Miranda Tamez) goes through. As the film goes on, Diana struggles with balancing her love for her family with the social structure she dwells in.

The film is supported by sheer filmmaking talent, many of which are current college students or fresh graduates from the Media Arts department at UNT. Tamez deftly plays the main character by making her struggling decisions believable to be coming from a 15-year old. Torres’ cinematography is as beautiful as ever as he skillfully manages a few wondrous back-lit shots. And Gonzalez united a determined crew despite the nerves that come with directing for the first time. Producer Valarie Gold was with Gonzalez from the beginning in helping see the production through the end. 

Gold remembers first seeing the rough script and saying, “this could be something great.” The story served as the basis for a fake trailer class assignment made by Gonzalez, Gold, and Torres. With that under their belt, why not complete it into an actual film?

The immediate challenges before them were to raise funding and to find Latinx actors so the film would stay honest with the ethnicity being presented. Their Kickstarter campaign raised over $1300 with marketing bolstered by a preview and interviews with the crew. These funds not only helped the actual production process, but assisted the film in paying for festival fees.

There was still the matter of finding the right actors. The crew was referred to a Latinx talent agency called CTC Cinema Group, and they found Rosana Nerez and Pablo Esparza(Machete) to portray her parents.

Gonzalez herself is one generation removed from Mexico who feels she has a good connection with being both American and Mexican, but there is sometimes the feeling of being halfway between two cultures. Working on Quince has inspired her to write more bilingual films. She says “I feel like I have an opportunity to tell Hispanic stories. It’s not like they’re being told very frequently.”

Quince premiered at the inaugural Festival de Cine Latino Americano in Ft. Worth where it was awarded a jury special mention for narrative short. It’s still making a festival run, but Dentonites have an opportunity to watch it Friday, September 30th at the Short Film Club Independent's Screening.

Quince (15:00)
Written and Directed by Cristina Gonzalez
Cinematography by German Torres
Producer and Lead Editor: Valarie Gold
Starring Miranda Tamez, Rosana Nerez, and Jorge Patillo

UPDATE 1.17.2018: Quince is now available to view online.

Quince from Quince on Vimeo.

Header image design by Jason Lee