In Mother of Color, the feature debut of Dawn Jones Redstone, a single mother with political aspirations receives messages from her ancestors as she sets out to make it to a life-changing job interview. The film was one of the highlights of the recent New Filmmakers Los Angeles festival In Focus: Female Cinema.
In a case of life imitating art and vice versa, the film’s star, Ana del Rocío, is currently seeking office on the Multnomah County Commission in Portland, Oregon. She, like her character, is a single mother of two who leads with a vision for the future.
Redstone, who is also based in Portland, had worked before with del Rocío on a short film and began interviewing to gather ideas for another project.
“I pitched her the idea of making something that was inspired by her, not exactly her life, but it definitely takes inspiration from her,” Redstone told NFMLA’s Danny DeLillo in an interview you can watch below.
Making Mother of Color
“I think of it as an origin story for someone like her who is destined to be a leader, but is constantly running into these limitations put on her by society as a single woman of color,” Redstone says. She strongly supports del Rocío’s campaign because she believes she can be a voice to make sure people like her don’t “fall through the cracks.”
She calls the campaign almost “an epilogue for the film.”
As the trailer for “the”Mother of Color” shows, del Rocío’s character receives advice from her ancestors about how listening to the past can change her present — and the lives of her two children, and all future generations. “By healing ourselves, we get to heal the future,” is the trailer’s final line.
“Over the course of the story she has to untangle what it is they’re trying to tell her — and make it to the job interview in time,” Redstone explains.
Watch the NFMLA interview with Dawn Jones Redstone, writer and director of “Mother of Color”:
Redstone is an award-winning queer, Mexican American writer/director whose films have screened around the globe, including the acclaimed short, “Sista in the Brotherhood.”
Her work often features women of color — including cast and crew — and explores themes of resistance, feminism and the internal machinations that help us transform into the people we want to become.
She believes in using her hiring decisions “to help create an inclusive filmmaking community that reflects and brings needed perspective to the world we live in,” she says. You can follow her on Instagram at @dawnjonesredstone.
Mother of Color was part of NFMLA’s March film festival celebrating up-and-coming female talent in front of and behind the camera. The program included two shorts programs, along with Mother of Color.
The day began with InFocus: Female Cinema Shorts I, a collection of films that explore motherhood, fertility, birth, and reproductive choice from a wide range of perspectives. The night concluded with InFocus: Female Cinema Shorts II, an eclectic mix of short form work from emerging talent, whose stories explored body image, intimate relationships, work and its many struggles.
NFMLA showcases films by filmmakers of all backgrounds throughout the year in addition to its special InFocus programming, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and region. All filmmakers are welcome and encouraged to submit their projects which will be considered for all upcoming NFMLA Festivals, regardless of the InFocus programming.