As a Documentary Filmmaker, Michelle is committed to social equality and fair representation of marginalized populations. She makes films with the intention of connecting people, alleviating ethnocentrism, and providing visual and narrative evidence to help people learn about the world in which we live, consequently sparking a reaction, probing questions and exploring the idea of social change. By harnessing the power of narrative visuals and technology, Michelle is able to contribute to an art that provides an accessible and entertaining avenue for people to learn, grow, connect, and act. Her work has been nominated for an IDA award and won awards at the Social Justice Film Festival and the DC Environmental Film Festival. Michelle earned an M.A in Social Documentation from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has produced numerous non-fiction multimedia projects in cultures and communities across the world. She lives in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, CA.
Films by Michelle Aguilar
No Place to Grow follows a group of Latinx farmers who find themselves representing a movement to save the last green space centered within a neighborhood facing gentrification in Santa Cruz, Ca. Over time we find out what happens when migrated farming traditions intersect with the “urban growth machine”. Set in a small city known for its liberal ideology, a community becomes conflicted as the fate of the garden is in jeopardy.
In the lush rainforest of Bocas del Toro, Panama, an indigenous cacao farmer, his wife and grandchildren confront environmental and economic complexities as they grow, harvest and sell cacao beans for a global chocolate market. Does Fair Trade Certification really work? Documenting the exceptional wisdom, unconditional devotion and proven ancient farming techniques of one hard-working Ngäbe farmer, Samuel Murillo, El Cacao complicates the question by examining the fairness of his trade.