Hummingbirds is a vibrant 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.

After a widely acclaimed world premiere at Berlinale 2023, where it won the Grand Prix Best Feature Film – Generation, the documentary had a successful film festival run, making stops at True/False, Sheffield DocFest, NewFest, SFFILM, Hot Springs, among others.


Hummingbirds will opens at DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema in New York, starting Friday, June 21st, followed by a national broadcast premiere from POV on PBS Television Channel on Monday, July 1st, 2024, at 10 pm/9C. It also be available to stream until September 29th, 2024, on and on the PBS App.


Silvia Del Carmen Castaños & Estefanía “Beba” Contreras tell their own coming-of-age story in Hummingbirds, a punk-rock portrait of the last summer of their youth on the Texas-Mexico border. Together they transform their hometown of Laredo into a cinematic wonderland of creative expression and activist Hijinx. Winner of the Berlinale Generation Grand Jury Prize, Hummingbirds celebrates the power of friendship, laughter, and joy as tools of survival and resistance.

Hummingbirds, a joyous collaborative vision of nonfiction cinema comes to life, centering the lived experiences of the protagonist-directors Silvia del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía “Beba” Contreras as they come of age in the borderlands of Laredo, Texas. Offering an unexpected depiction of the US/Mexico border, this bright and irreverent tale of youth, friendship, and resilience explores the crossroads of immigration, gender, sexuality, reproductive healthcare access, mental health, and class.

Filmed during the balmy summer nights of their last summer together in Laredo, Texas, best friends and creative collaborators Castaños and Contreras playfully narrate their coming-of-age journey, transforming their hometown into a haven of creative expression and activist mischief. 18 and 21 at the start of production, they navigate their way through uncertainty as Contreras awaits her papers, daring to envision their future amidst the limbo. The director-protagonist invites viewers on a journey through their
adventures: trespassing, protesting, and even ‘correcting’ an anti-abortion sign. On the threshold of adulthood, their lives unfold through poignant conversations: reminiscing about childhood deportations, recounting secretive trips to San Antonio for an abortion, and Contreras recollecting crossing the border on her mother’s shoulders. Their cinematic self-portrait exalts the potency of friendship and joy as tools of survival and resistance.
Hummingbirds is a touchstone in the new wave of works by Mexican-American women and gender non-conforming filmmakers in Texas. This emerging movement 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/Río Bravo.
Castaños and Contreras skillfully document fleeting yet transformative moments, akin to the hummingbird tattoo Beba creates for Silvia, symbolically covering their self-harm scars. Featuring animation by Laredoan artist Yancey 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 and their young crew were mentored by collaborators Jillian Schlesinger, Miguel drake-McLaughlin, dawn Valadez, and Isidore bethel, among others. In this dynamic, the exchange of learning was mutual within a young team that is predominantly Mexican-American, Texan, queer women/non-binary, and Fronterize.

“Playful and poetic; has the sheen of summertime fun and the bright energy of creative focus for besties who are smart and terrifically likable.”
-Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

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

“Funny and heartbreaking at once, capturing the excitement and anticipation of a moment that flashes by and disappears before you realize how fleeting it is.”
-Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

“Warm and revealing. It’s a film of deep honesty that’s carefully crafted.”
-Jason Gorber,

“The Mexican American duo conveys their innermost fears and yearnings through music and poetry that becomes part of a tapestry of lived experiences”
-Carlos Aguilar, The Los Angeles Times

“To watch Hummingbirds is to consider the pantheon of great movies about dynamic duos of young female friends in all their love and anarchy, whether it’s Daisies or Ghost World. The DNA of those subversive classics abides in this stirringly independent production.”
-Steve Dollar, Fandor


Share ...

FILMS in this article

Subscribe for Blog Updates

Sign up for our latest updates.

Please follow us to get updates online.