Silvia Del Carmen Castaños is an activist, poet, and filmmaker born and raised in Laredo, TX. Their activism and art are both grounded in community, justice, and self-determination. Silvia’s short film Ocean, a visual poem depicting a queer love story of a trans man and a cis woman, won a jury prize for documentary at the Laredo International Media & Film Festival in 2018. Silvia’s debut feature, Hummingbirds, is a uniquely collaborative autobiographical documentary directed by them and Estefanía Contreras about a summer in their lives coming of age on the Texas-Mexico border. Silvia has represented the Hummingbirds team at the 2021 Sundance/WIF Financing Intensive and 2022 Visions du Reel Works in Progress. They are a 2021 NBCU Original Voices Fellow, a 2021 CIFF LEF Fellow, and a 2022 BAVC Mediamaker Fellow. Hummingbirds is also supported by Ford Foundation/JustFilms, Field of Vision, Threshold Fund, Sundance, and Chicken & Egg Pictures.
In this late-night summer self portrait, directors Silvia Castaños and Estefanía Contreras are best friends at a crossroads. High school graduates, technically adults, clinging to the carefree childhood neither of them actually knew as kids. They emerge after dark like vampires to wander empty streets of Laredo, their hometown on the Texas-Mexico border, in search of inspiration, adventure, and answers to all the big questions: What does the future hold? How to make peace with the past? How to make the most of these fleeting moments before they are gone? Silvia and Estefanía process pain into poetry and song and other forms of creativity. Their friendship itself is a form of artistic collaboration. The beauty they co-create, through the simplest acts of conversation and ordinary movement through the world, is a magic to behold. Hummingbirds is an ode to this relationship, to formative friendship and fast food and flights of feeling interrupted by fart noises. It’s an ode to Laredo, this place they call home, defined by proximity to a border simultaneously so absurd and so impactful to their lives. It’s an ode to this moment at the edge of the rest of their lives and the beginning of the end of the world.
Hummingbirds is being made in a collaborative anti-hierarchical filmmaking approach, with teams of mostly first-time filmmakers sharing key roles and credits with more experienced mentor-collaborators. The goal is to simultaneously make a beautiful world-transforming film that delivers on Silvia and Estefanía’s core vision for telling their story and to establish a template for early-career development and craft training for emerging artists in all aspects of nonfiction filmmaking.