“Mira” – A student-made film

Has a nightmare ever jolted you awake in the middle of the night? That eerie feeling after a monster has just terrorized your dreams is always distressing. Some students at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), have brought this sensation to the silver screen in their 2023 short film, “Mira.” 

The film is roughly eight minutes long, and tells the story of a woman named Alicia who is consumed by grief after losing her mom. This grief takes form in a feminine entity which follows Alicia into her dreams; the faceless entity is characterized by a mysterious black dress and long black fingernails. 

Black movie poster, Two half faces on either side of poster. One a person, one a doll. Title reads "Mira". Written by Karla Garcia. Cast listed: Karla Garcia, Katherine Divas Juarez, Angel Banuelos.
Screenshot by Nicholas Zuniga

“I’ve always loved horror… horror to me is a genre where you can [manipulate] both the reality of the real world and imaginary stuff into one,” said Karla Garcia, a recent CSUMB graduate and the writer/director of “Mira.”

Combining horror with the more sentimental and touching side of films, Garcia was able to incorporate important life lessons into this film; these lessons were to embrace one’s culture and to learn when to let go. 

“I think it’s important to [understand] what it means to be Latinx in the media in many different forms. Being Latinx is so complex, and it’s so diverse [and there’s] not just one person that looks like every kind; there are so many different variations of what it means to be Latinx,” said Garcia.

At least one dozen students attended this event, many of whom connected to the underlying story within this film.

“I thought it was very empowering. Even though I’m not Central American myself, it was just very empowering and warm to see Karla, my friend, speak about what’s true to her and what’s close to her, even Katherine as well,” said fourth-year Cylysce Ramirez.

Working alongside Garcia was Katherine Divas, who played the main character – Alicia. 

“I jumped on this project with Karla because I was really inspired by her story. She basically wrote the script and I loved it from the minute that she pitched it. I’m also Central American, which is what pushed me to team up with Karla,” said Divas.

After watching the film and conducting a Q&A portion, the facilitators of the event had participants create their own film storyboards based on a provided prompt. By the end of the night, everyone had some experience in creating a story. 

Garcia and Divas have high hopes for the future of “MIRA,” and have submitted the film to several film festivals.

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