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Film explores one of the few female surfers in Mexico

Mayra Aguilar © Elizabeth Pepin Silva
Mayra Aguilar © Elizabeth Pepin Silva



Film Updates 

La Maestra (The Teacher) raises money to complete film 

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 28 October, 2014 - Internationally acclaimed surf photographer Paul Ferraris and Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker and surf photographer Elizabeth Pepin Silva have teamed up to make a unique surf documentary called La Maestra (The Teacher), about a young Mexican woman who decides to follow her own path and in doing so, inspires other to do the same and changes her community's expectations of what's appropriate for girls and women.

Working on the documentary with minimal funds, the filmmakers have reached the point in the editing process where they must find funds to pay for editing tasks, such as a sound mix, in order to get the film ready for film festivals and broadcast, so they’ve just launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. 


'La Maestra' (The Teacher) profiles Mayra Agulair, a teacher in a tiny rural fishing village in Baja, Mexico, who becomes the first Mexican woman surfer in her area. Told in Spanish using mainly Mayra's voice, the film shows how Mayra has gone on to inspire both her students and other local women to take up the sport and follow their dreams. Through her deep connection to the ocean, Mayra has also become an environmentalist, teaching her students the importance of land and sea stewardship through hands on learning. In the film, Mayra talks about the amazing surfing waves in her town -- a gift of nature that has brought thousands of gringo surfers to the area over the years, forever changing Mayra's hometown.

In this regard, the film is also a subtle commentary on the impact outsider surf tourists can have on small communities around the globe and the need for all of us to be mindful of taking care of the environment, no matter where we are. 'La Maestra' (The Teacher) is an important film because it features a strong Latina woman role model that will appeal to everyone.  There is no surf media hype, no surf company sponsors, and no surf industry to spoil the soul of this film.

Surf movies are filmed all over the world, but usually it’s Americans, Australians, and/or Europeans traveling to exotic locals and talking about what they are seeing, and it’s rare that the filmmakers bother to interview the local people or capture their daily experiences of living and surfing there year-round. 'La Maestra' (The Teacher) is unusual in that it’s a story about a local woman, told entirely in Spanish, through our character’s own voice, not the voices of outsiders.

“La Maestra' (The Teacher) is a continuation of my efforts through my films and photography to change the way all women are portrayed in the media and create an alternative voice in surfing by pointing my video and photo lenses at women surfers of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, and sizes and shapes,” says Elizabeth. “I felt it was time that a local woman at one of these surf spots had a chance to tell her own story, and this film will not get done without your financial support.”

“If we rely on the media and stereotypes about Mexico we would be left to think that Mexico is a lawless place where banditos lurk behind every corner waiting for the opportunity rob and kill you,” added Paul. “I want our film to give viewers a glimpse into a day in the life of a very normal yet somewhat extraordinary woman.  Mayra is a strong woman and a graceful surfer, but really she is no different from surfers and teachers everywhere. I want the viewers to see themselves in Mayra.  Because only when people begin to see the similarities amongst others can we begin to humanize these places that are so misrepresented by the media. Please consider donating to our campaign.” 

You can help bring this film to the big screen by Donating to the 'La Maestra (The Teacher)' fundraising campaign 

Elizabeth Pepin Silva

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