‘Our Quinceañera’ Is A Documentary Featuring A Principal Who Has Been Throwing Quinces For Students Who Can’t Afford Them
In the small Mexican-American town of San Benito in Texas, many girls dream of the day that they will make their debut as women to their family and community. But the tabs for orders of gowns, crowns, food, decorations, and DJs often run so high that for awhile such events for the girls in town were out of reach.
Then, Gilbert Galvan, the principal of San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy, came up with an idea that meant that not a single girl would be forced to miss out on the opportunity to take part in the tradition.
Since 2015, San Benito has hosted an annual quinceañera event for young girls and their families.
Nearly five years ago, Gilbert Galvan Sr. found himself being invited to quinceañeras by the students at his school. Then one day, some of the answers from the young women at his school caught his attention. After a few of his female students opened up to him about the fact that they did not have enough money to afford a quinceañera, Galvan Sr. was inspired to do put on a party for them on his own.
In just a matter of months, the educator sought out donations from his community to put on one massive quinceañera. Donations and gifts came in all forms– from cakes and dresses to crowns and the volunteered time of makeup artists and mariachi singers. That was the first year.
In the years that have followed, Galvan Sr. has continued to put on the event where as many as 40 girls have attended at a time. Today, donations for the girls come in from across the country.
The community quinceañera has gained so much attention that it’s now becoming captured in a documentary.
As reported by FIERCE by mitú last year, Galvan’s son, Gilbert Galvan Jr. —who has worked in the entertainment industry for ten years— was inspired by his father’s efforts and pitched the event as a documentary concept to Fanny Véliz, the award-winning filmmaker and CEO behind Avenida Productions. Now, having been directed by Véliz and given the name “Our Quinceañera” appears to be closer to its release. According to the documentary’s site, the film is in submission for festivals!
During an interview with FIERCE last year, Galvan Jr. said he hoped the documentary will inspire viewers to “embrace their heritage and celebrate the power of community… We want to document this historic event while empowering and inspiring Latina girls across the country to pursue and achieve their dreams.”