Daughter of the Sea is an unapologetically Latina short film that the world desperately needs right now. The short is a testament to the talent and perseverance of women of all races, but presents those qualities in a specifically Latin way. The movie is a direct reflection of its visionary, Alexis Garcia. Garcia, a Puerto Rican native and Middlebury College graduate, fought hard to bring this film to fruition. She earned a grant from Netflix and raised a substantial amount of money from donors to cobble together a shoestring budget for the film. Garcia’s talent and perseverance helped her produce a film that is inspiring to viewers and empowering to women, all within a runtime just under 20 minutes.
What Daughter of the Sea is able to accomplish in such a short time is nothing short of amazing. The set designs, wardrobe choices, and camera work rival any Hollywood movie you would have the audacity to compare it to. Garcia filmed a majority of the short in Puerto Rico and allowed the island, its people, and its traditions to shine by utilizing a voyeuristic approach with the camera.
Daughter of the Sea is a story mostly told through pictures. The most important scenes of the movie have almost no dialogue and that really keeps the viewer’s focus on the film’s cinematography. At one point in the film, Yanise (Princess Nokia), the main character of the film, takes a cab ride down a Puerto Rican street and Garcia allows the vibrance of the island’s Spanish Colonial architecture to pop without verbal distraction. The movie’s strong cinematography also allows viewers to notice a fervent commitment to juxtaposition in the film. The opening scene deftly juxtaposes the tranquility of a pristine beach with the looming power of the sea. A subsequent scene juxtaposes the beauty of a dew-covered rose with the ugliness of an ominous storm cloud overhead. However, Yanise provides the movie’s critical examples of juxtaposition by offering comparisons between cultures and generations.
Yanise gracefully displays her ability to traverse between the cultures of corporate America and her Puerto Rican heritage. At any given time, the world demands that Yanise be whatever it needs regardless of what she’s going through at the time. That’s the story of every woman’s life. The phone conversations where she effortlessly switches from English to Spanish and back again really exemplify her versatility and mental strength. She is an overworked young American professional, but she is also an hija. She is a nieta. She is Latina.
The world asks a lot of women, especially women of color, and rarely gives them the appreciation and respect that they deserve. Daughter of the Sea is a testament to the strength women find in and amongst themselves to persevere.
Daughter of the Sea is currently running the film festival circuit.