Planning the absolute quinceañera is one thing. Planning the absolute quinceañera while still antic beginning bruises from your aboriginal battle bout is another. Add cameras and a blur aggregation to the mix and you’ll accept an abstraction of what Ashley Lopez was ambidextrous with.
“The best demanding allotment was the fight, of course,” said Lopez. “Because it wasn’t aloof a fight, it was activity to be filmed by HBO. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s absolutely big. If I lose, if I aloof get agape out appropriate here, the accomplished world’s activity to see.'”
Lopez, an abecedarian boxer from East L.A., is one of bristles capacity of an accessible alternation of documentary films active on the cable approach about the ritual of quinceañera, the anniversary of a Latina’s 15th birthday.
In the aforementioned attitude as MTV’s long-running “My Super Sweet 16” (but with appreciably beneath of that series’ signature advantage and entitlement), HBO’s “15: A Quinceañera Story” aims to flash a spotlight on the countless agency adolescent Latinas accept to bless the day. The 30-minute documentaries, which amount celebrations demography abode in L.A., Texas and Florida, run on after nights, starting Tuesday.
Directed by Matthew O’Neill and controlling produced by bedmate and wife duo Tommy Mottola and Thalía Sodi (a music controlling and recording artist, respectively), the four films chase bristles Latina girls through the planning and staging of their acutely different, awful altered quinceañeras.
“It was originally meant to be one film, but again we begin so abounding absurd adolescent women that it became four abbreviate films,” said O’Neill. “People too generally anticipate of the Latino association as monolithic; in these films, you see bristles adolescent women who are angry and activating in such altered ways.
“They appear from altered backgrounds, altered places, altered passions and altered claimed stories. What unites them is the anniversary of their association and their culture.”
The quinceañera is a rite of access that historians say came about as a aftereffect of Spanish ability bond with association of the aboriginal peoples the Spaniards colonized. Today, quinceañeras are acclaimed in Latin America and the Caribbean, as able-bodied as in Latino communities in the U.S.
Of the L.A.-based subjects, there’s Lopez, forth with Zoey Luna, a auto babe adulatory her quinceañera with several auto madrinas (or godmothers) who were never able to accept celebrations of their own.
“They’re so actual admiring of me,” Luna said of her madrinas. “They’re basically like my bogie godmothers, honestly.”
To acquisition capacity for the documentaries, the filmmakers accumulated “the ability of the internet and acceptable ancient artery walking,” said O’Neill.
“It was a appealing accurate process. We accomplished out to every association about the country that we could. We talked to quinceañera planners, association activists, association organizations and begin them in all sorts of altered ways. For example, we begin Ashley by walking forth Whittier Boulevard and arresting up conversations in every quinceañera dress shop.”
Luna, on the added hand, was apparent back the filmmakers happened aloft an commodity about a cloister case she and her mother, Ofelia, had adjoin her accessible school. After administrators at the academy asked her to transfer, the ACLU wrote a letter of abutment to accomplish abiding her rights were protected.
“I anticipation it would be a absolutely abundant footfall into accepting auto amplitude in media,” Luna said of her quinceañera. “A lot of bodies don’t apperceive transgender girls that are alike teenagers, and so I anticipation it would be air-conditioned like, ‘Hey, I’m a auto boyish girl. It happens, it’s a accustomed thing.’ And additionally that we do accept quinceañeras.”
Since actuality brought calm to do columnist for the series, Lopez and Luna accept become fast friends, arise up amid takes at The Times’ photo flat and analogous a sleepover at Luna’s abode at the end of the interview. “I feel like we’re like sisters, to be honest,” Luna said. “We aloof clicked appropriate away,” Lopez agreed.
Where Lopez, who grew up with earlier brothers, is tough, with a tomboy’s sensibilities (and an attraction with rapper ASAP Rocky), Luna is the quintessential girly-girl who references ’90s TV alternation “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” at atomic 15 times over the advance of the interview. “I should’ve been built-in in the ’90s,” she said.
Filming lasted for about seven months and captured the struggles arch up to the parties as able-bodied as the parties themselves. Lopez had to alter advancing for both a huge action and a huge affair appointed aloof canicule afar while her admired battle drillmaster was actuality threatened with deportation. Luna, on the added hand, struggled with ball amid her classmates and with award boys to participate in her chamberlain, or court.
“It’s absolutely hard,” said Luna. “Because anybody wants to know, ‘Have you got the surgery? Did you get your adenoids job? Did you get your boobs done? Why do you accept cellulite?’ There’s a lot of benightedness and a lot of hate, because bodies see me so confident, but I’m myself and I apperceive who I am.”
“These adolescent women affect me,” said O’Neill. “They celebrate, I think, abounding of the altered strands of what it agency to be a adolescent Latina today in the United States.
“Too often, the Latino association is authentic in ample brushstrokes and generalizations. Really, the affair that unites these adolescent women is the actuality that they’re all adulatory their ability with a quinceañera. Otherwise, they’re absolutely different. And altered in so abounding cocky and assured ways.”
Despite accepting such acutely altered interests, the girls are in acceding about what the ritual agency to them.
“I feel like a quinceañera stops time,” said Luna. “It absolutely makes you anticipate about what’s important to you. I anticipate it’s a ability point…”
“And what’s air-conditioned with that ability point is you get a celebration,” chimed in Lopez.
“It’s so abundant fun,” Luna added. “Because you acquisition out all these things about yourself and about the bodies who affliction about you, and again you get to aloof bandy this alarming affair with this amazing dress.”
’15: A Quinceañera Story’
Where: HBO and HBO Latino
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
Rating: TV-G (suitable for all ages)
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