Manuel (Carlos Flores, Jr) is a gay Latino teen who lacks guidance and support. Even though his mother, Anna (Virginia Blanco) deeply cares for him, she is only able to prove and instill her love through video tapes made from afar. Keeping his sexuality and boyfriend (Connery Morano) a secret from his homophobic father (Roy Manzanares), Manuel must decide the life he wants to live or end.
Nicolas Jara is a Bay Area native director and producer, whose formal education and on-the-job experience within the fields of anthropology and film production helped him develop his artistic focus. His interest is in making realistic character-driven narrative and documentary films focused on disenfranchised and marginalized peoples. He received the Barbara Hammer Filmmaking Award for “Guardian”, which allowed him to complete festival distribution and is a finalist for the CSU Media Arts Film Festival.
Guardian was made to honor my mother who died of breast cancer when I was five years old. After she passed, I was left with my father who tried to mold me into his own image, but her presence never left me. This film is an exploration of my memories of her and what I think she would have told me if she was still alive.
The story of Manuel (Carlos Flores, Jr.) is about making the choice between toxic masculinity and unconditional love and acceptance. Within the Latinx community, the patriarchal system influences the relationships within family. As a result, many women and queer Latinxs experience abuse and internalized oppression. Manuel is forced deeper in the closet by his father’s hypermasculinity, but his mother’s love reaches him through time and space. I wanted Manuel to be an example for others in the community who struggle to come out and get out of abusive relationships.