Before Isabel Castro’s “Mija” bows on Disney+ September 16, audiences will get a chance to see the doc for free in select theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco for a one-week period beginning today, August 5. The film will also get an Academy Award qualifying run later this month. Variety broke the news.
The doc follows Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, two daughters of undocumented immigrants from Mexico who are both navigating their careers in the music industry, and bonding over the pressures of being the first American-born members of their respective families.
Marjon Javadi, VP of Documentary Film & Docuseries for Disney Original Documentary described the film as “a love letter to immigrants, their children, and the power of a dream,” and added further: “As we are looking to build out Disney Original Documentary, we’ve been very keen on finding authentic narratives, character-driven storytelling, and also filmmakers that bring in an approach and style to their work. ‘Mija’ is such an authentic portrayal of what it means to be a first-generation kid and to pursue your dreams and balance those dreams while also caring for your family. The music element really spoke to us as well.”
In an interview with Women and Hollywood, Castro talked about transitioning from her role as a journalist to becoming a filmmaker, spurred on by a “longing to convey the incredibly complex dynamics of immigrant families and all the emotions they navigate, including guilt, resentment, and anger.”
While filming during the pandemic often required her to be a crew of just one, she was prepared: “I quit my job at a major news organization because I was disappointed in the lack of female cinematographers that they employed, and disgruntled by the amount of men winning cinematography awards. After quitting, I enrolled in a cinematography intensive course, and over the last few years I’ve worked really hard to find a visual voice. I had not anticipated working mostly alone, but I think that my professional goal of learning how to shoot prepared me for it.”
Following its premiere at Sundance this year, the film enjoyed a run on the festival circuit, with screenings at CPH DOX, San Francisco International Film Festival, and Hot Docs among others.
Castro previously directed the documentary shorts “Darlin” and “USA v Scott,” earning News & Documentary Emmy nominations for both.
See below for a trailer for “Mija” and click here to find out where you can watch it for free.