Transforming their hometown on the Texas border into a wonderland of expression, “Hummingbirds” on POV – July 1 at 10 pm

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‘POV’ Announces the National Broadcast Premiere of


an Irreverent Self-Told Coming-of-Age Tale Embodying a Queer Punk-Rock Rebellion

Monday, July 1 at 10:00pm

 POV, the multi award-winning series, reimagines a more collaborative cinema in Hummingbirds, an upbeat documentary feature that centers on the lived experiences of its protagonist directors, Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía “Beba” Contreras, who grew up in the shadow of the Texas borderlands. Offering an unexpected depiction of the US/Mexico border, this sparky and irreverent tale of friendship and resilience explores the crossroads of immigration, gender, sexuality, mental health, and class. Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is a co-sponsor of Hummingbirds.

Two Latinx teenagers look up into the night time sky. The teen on the left's short blonde hair blows in the wind as they cup their hands around their chin, their mouth open in awe. They wear a white t-shirt, black glasses and have a glowing ring on their hand, which casts a vibrant green glow on half of their body. The teen on the right has short black hair and wears a tank top and wire-frame glasses. Her tattooed arm is raised and their hand almost covers their mouth, an impassive expression on her face. In her glasses is reflected fireworks in the sky. Around them, other lights and spectators stand just out of focus.
Silvia Del Carmen Castaños (left) and Estefanía “Beba” Contreras (right) watch 4th of July fireworks at night in a scene from Hummingbirds

After a widely acclaimed world premiere at Berlinale 2023, where it won the Generation 14plus Grand Prix for Best Feature Film, the documentary had a successful film festival run, making stops at True/False, NewFest: The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival, San Francisco, Hot Springs, among others. It will be available to stream until September 29, 2024, on and the PBS App.

Hummingbirds, captured during the balmy summer nights of their fleeting youth in Laredo, Texas, best friends and directors Castaños and Contreras—the former from Laredo and the latter from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico—narrate their coming-of-age journey, transforming their border-town locale into a haven of creative expression and activist mischief. Through collaborative filmmaking, their cinematic self-portrait exalts the potency of friendship and joy as tools of survival and resistance.

Between drive-thrus, friends’ couches, and the borderlands, both friends confront the stresses of survival, the future, and the imperative of community building. For them, this means protest action for legal abortion and against border militarization, in a politically divided America. But the summer heat is also a time for poetry and dreams. Their laughter and creative expression cement a sense of solidarity and belonging in togetherness.

Two Latinx teens sit shoulder-to-shoulder and stare contemplatively into the distance. One sits in profile, slightly out of focus, their face calm and framed by blonde hair and black glasses. The other teen faces us with black shoulder-length hair and gold earrings. We see the sunset reflected in her wire-frame glasses.
Silvia Del Carmen Castaños (left) and Estefanía “Beba” Contreras (right) sit by Lake Casa Blanca in Laredo watching the sunset and talking about their lives in scene from Hummingbirds

Castaños and Contreras, aged 18 and 21 when they embarked on the film, navigated their way through uncertainty as Contreras awaited her papers, daring to envision their future amidst the limbo. Stuck in an immigration process over which deportation hangs as a constant possibility, home still seems a fragile concept. Both director/protagonists invite viewers on a journey through their misadventures: trespassing, protesting, and even ‘correcting’ an anti-abortion sign. Between the thresholds of childhood and adulthood, the details of their lives unfold through poignant conversations: reminiscing about childhood deportations, recounting secretive trips to San Antonio for an abortion, and Contreras’s recollection of crossing the border on her mother’s shoulders.

Following in the footsteps of Las Marthas (2014) by El Paso-native director Cristina Ibarra, which is also set in Laredo,Hummingbirds contributes to the Border New Wave of Mexican-American women and gender non-conforming filmmakers from Texas. This emerging wave contrasts the sensationalist headlines depicting border chaos and disruption with nuanced and sensitive portraits of the resilience of the region’s people and the complexities of bi-cultural and bi-national communities along the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo, as it’s known south of the border).

At the core of the film lies a profound sense of deep love and acceptance; the close-knit group of friends supports one another while capturing candid moments of dancing and singing. They express a desire to memorialize every experience, even the hardships. Castaños and Contreras skillfully document these fleeting yet transformative moments, akin to the Hummingbird tattoo Beba creates for Silvia, symbolically covering their scars from self-harm/cutting.

Two teens stand with their backs to the camera against a deep blue sky near the Texas-Mexico border in Laredo. Blue shadows obscure them and fade to a bright neon orange at the horizon. The orange illuminates the dirt and brush of the land and, beyond, a train and cargo containers sit against the blue sky.
Estefanía “Beba” Contreras (left) and Silvia Del Carmen Castaños (right) watch a train in the distance near the U.S.-Mexico border at dusk in a scene from Hummingbirds

Featuring animation by local Laredoan artist Yensey Murillo, and original music by director/protagonist Contreras, Hummingbirds is the result of what the filmmakers refer to as a “collaborative apprenticeship model of filmmaking.” The first-time filmmakers were mentored by industry professionals, including producer/editor/co-director Jillian Schlesinger and producer/cinematographer/co-director Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, co-producer Dawn Valadez, and editor/co-producer Isidore Bethel (known for his work on What We Leave Behind). In this dynamic, the exchange of learning was mutual within a young team that is predominantly Mexican-American, Texan, queer, women/non-binary, and Fronterizo.

Estefanía “Beba” Contreras, Protagonist-Director said: It means a lot to have this chance to tell our story in Hummingbirds, to represent Laredo and border culture, and highlight the beauty of our community in a time capsule of our friendship. We are proud to be releasing the film in the US with PBS POV so that it can be available and accessible to audiences for free.”

Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Protagonist-Director said: “Making Hummingbirds was really fun and we hope people have fun watching it. It is a dream to have our art on PBS. There are so many artists out there with stories to tell, ours is just one of an infinite number. We hope that many more will have the support and opportunities to share them with the world.”

Chris White, Executive Producer, POV said: Hummingbirds is a raw, joyful, and introspective portrayal of youth in Laredo, Texas. The experiences of protagonist-directors Silvia and Beba genuinely reflect what it’s like coming of age in an American border town. Whether through the lens of immigration, sexuality, abortion rights or family, the film captures their acerbic wit, and reveals both their vulnerability and self-determination as they enter adulthood.”

“Politically fueled and summer-bright.”

—Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

“[A] joyous indie hybrid… A film of deep honesty that’s carefully crafted.”

—Jason Gorber,Roger

“A vibrant, infectious and surprisingly hopeful portrait of a divided America, fuelled not by idealism but dogged determination.”
—Nikki Baughan, Screen International