Aurora Guerrero (b. Unknown) is a Chicana Writer and Director. She worked as a Director for 13 Reasons Why, the Netflix adaption of Jay Asher's novel, Thirteen Reasons Why. She is a queer-identified, Chicana writer-director from California. Described as activist first and filmmaker second, Guerrero focuses on collaborative work with her communities creating art forms that offer opportunities for dialogue and education.
Guerrero was born in the Mission District of San Francisco, California to Mexican immigrant parents, later growing up on the border of Richmond and El Cerritos cities, while working at her parents small Mexican restaurant in Berkeley. Guerrero studied both Psychology and Chicano studies at University of California, Berkeley completing a Bachelor of Arts. She later moved to Los Angeles to study directing at California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita, California earning a Master of Fine Arts. Her narrative work often examines the intersection of the working class, queer, and of color.
Early in her career, she co-founded Womyn Image Makers (WIM) along with Dalila Mendez, Maritza Alvarez and Claudia Mercado. As WIM, in 2005, she directed the short film Pura Lengua, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Her second short film, Viernes Girl, won the 2005 HBO/New York International Latino Film Festival short film competition. Both films caught the attention of film institutions such as Sundance, Tribeca, and Film Independent. Guerrero also went on to assist director Patricia Cardoso on her debut feature Real Women Have Curves, which won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award in 2002. In 2005 Guerrero was selected as a Sundance Institute Ford Foundation film fellow. While there, she participated in the Native Indigenous Lab with her script for Mosquita y Mari.
In 2012, Guerrero made her feature film debut at the Sundance Film Festival with Mosquita y Mari, becoming the first Chicana filmmaker to debut a feature-length film who was also previously a Sundance Institute and Ford Foundation Fellow. Mosquita y Mari has since traveled over 100 film festivals including San Francisco International, Melbourne, Guadalajara, Sao Paulo, and has garnered multiple awards including Best First Feature at Outfest and Best U.S. Latino FIlm at NY's Cinema Tropical while picking up Spirit Award and GLAAD nominations for Best First Feature Under 500k and the Piaget's Producer's Award. The film tells the coming-of-age story of two teen Chicanas in Huntington Park, California who form a relationship ignited by sexual attraction. Guerrero describes an attraction to speaking about “actual violence within silence,” taboo subjects that are not easily spoken about between parents and children. Guerrero also hoped that LGBT Latino audiences would see themselves validated by the film—much as Guerrero herself felt when, as an undergraduate student, she encountered the work of feminist Chicana writers Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga.
In an interview in 2012 at the Torino LGBTQI Film Festival, Guerrero stated that she felt connected to the story in Mosquita y Mari because she “wanted to stay true to her own coming of age experience of exploring her identity. I feel at that age you’re a little more open to life and the people around you end up impacting you because of your openness. These early years are markers of who you will become later on. That is very true of my life and I feel like my friendships, and that friendship in particular that inspired this movie, was the beginnings of my queer identity.”
In 2014, Guerrero announced her next project, Los Valientes, about a young undocumented gay Latino man living in the U.S. Los Valientes, slated to be Guerrero's second feature, has been awarded two grants by SFF/KRF, a 2014 Sundance Feature Film Development Grant and a 2013 Tribeca Narrative Grant, and was selected to participate in IFP's No Borders Market in 2014.
Most of Guerrero’s film work has been centered around California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area where she grew up. Her first work not centered in California was the episode of Queen Sugar she directed, centered in Louisiana.
In 2017, Guerrero directed the Ava DuVernay produced Queen Sugar episode "What Do I Care for Morning" which aired as episode three in season two. DuVernay chose Guerrero for the directorial position because of her work Mosquita y Mari. Based off this film, DuVernay felt confident enough that Guerrero could focus on the power of intimacy, especially for Queen Sugar, a show that focuses so much on family, betrayal and injustice. Prior to directing episode three of season two of Queen Sugar, Guerrero had no idea what episode or what she was going to be directing specifically. Exploring the flirtation, tension, and budding romance of this episode is one of her strengths, and it was a perfect directorial fit for her.
DuVernay later recommended Guerrero to Lin-Manuel Miranda to direct the music video for Andra Day's cover of "Burn" from The Hamilton Mixtape.
Awards and Nominations
- 2013, Mosquita y Mari, John Cassavetes Spirit Award Nomination
- 2012, Best Director, Long Beach QFilm Festival
- 2012, Global Can Award, William & Mary Film Festival
- 2012, Time Warner/Sundance Storytelling Fellow
- 2005, Viernes Girl, HBO/New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) short script competition
- 2013, Mosquita y Mari, John Cassavetes Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay
- 2012, Mosquita y Mari, Best First Narrative Feature, Outfest
- 2012, Mosquita y Mari, Best Narrative Feature, Festival Las Americas, Chicago
- 2012, Mosquita y Mari, Best Narrative Feature, Cinefestival
- 2012, Mosquita y Mari, Best Screenplay, Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
- 2012, Mosquita y Mari, Queer Award, Torino International LGBT Film Festival
- 2012, Mosquita y Mari, Audience Award, Pink Film Festival Zurich
|13 Reasons Why Crew|
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