Press Release

June 6 2024

‘POV’ Announces the National Broadcast Premiere of Hummingbirds, an Irreverent Self-Told Coming-of-Age Tale Embodying a Queer Punk-Rock Rebellion


Brooklyn, N.Y. — June 6, 2024 — POV, the multi award-winning series, reimagines a more collaborative cinema in Hummingbirds, an upbeat documentary feature that centers on the lived experiences of its protagonist directors, Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía "Beba" Contreras, who grew up in the shadow of the Texas borderlands. Offering an unexpected depiction of the US/Mexico border, this sparky and irreverent tale of friendship and resilience explores the crossroads of immigration, gender, sexuality, mental health, and class. Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is a co-sponsor of Hummingbirds.

After a widely acclaimed world premiere at Berlinale 2023, where it won the Generation 14plus Grand Prix for Best Feature Film, the documentary had a successful film festival run, making stops at True/False, NewFest: The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival, San Francisco, Hot Springs, among others. Hummingbirds will open theatrically at DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema in New York, starting Friday, June 21, before its national broadcast premiere on PBS television on Monday, July 1, 2024, at 10pm/9C (check local listings). It will be available to stream until September 29, 2024, on and the PBS App.

Hummingbirds, captured during the balmy summer nights of their fleeting youth in Laredo, Texas, best friends and directors Castaños and Contreras—the former from Laredo and the latter from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico—narrate their coming-of-age journey, transforming their border-town locale into a haven of creative expression and activist mischief. Through collaborative filmmaking, their cinematic self-portrait exalts the potency of friendship and joy as tools of survival and resistance.

Between drive-thrus, friends’ couches, and the borderlands, both friends confront the stresses of survival, the future, and the imperative of community building. For them, this means protest action for legal abortion and against border militarization, in a politically divided America. But the summer heat is also a time for poetry and dreams. Their laughter and creative expression cement a sense of solidarity and belonging in togetherness.

Castaños and Contreras, aged 18 and 21 when they embarked on the film, navigated their way through uncertainty as Contreras awaited her papers, daring to envision their future amidst the limbo. Stuck in an immigration process over which deportation hangs as a constant possibility, home still seems a fragile concept. Both director/protagonists invite viewers on a journey through their misadventures: trespassing, protesting, and even 'correcting' an anti-abortion sign. Between the thresholds of childhood and adulthood, the details of their lives unfold through poignant conversations: reminiscing about childhood deportations, recounting secretive trips to San Antonio for an abortion, and Contreras's recollection of crossing the border on her mother’s shoulders.

Following in the footsteps of Las Marthas (2014) by El Paso-native director Cristina Ibarra, which is also set in Laredo,Hummingbirds contributes to the Border New Wave of Mexican-American women and gender non-conforming filmmakers from Texas. This emerging wave contrasts the sensationalist headlines depicting border chaos and disruption with nuanced and sensitive portraits of the resilience of the region's people and the complexities of bi-cultural and bi-national communities along the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo, as it’s known south of the border).

At the core of the film lies a profound sense of deep love and acceptance; the close-knit group of friends supports one another while capturing candid moments of dancing and singing. They express a desire to memorialize every experience, even the hardships. Castaños and Contreras skillfully document these fleeting yet transformative moments, akin to the Hummingbird tattoo Beba creates for Silvia, symbolically covering their scars from self-harm/cutting.

Featuring animation by local Laredoan artist Yensey Murillo, and original music by director/protagonist Contreras, Hummingbirds is the result of what the filmmakers refer to as a “collaborative apprenticeship model of filmmaking.” The first-time filmmakers were mentored by industry professionals, including producer/editor/co-director Jillian Schlesinger and producer/cinematographer/co-director Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, co-producer Dawn Valadez, and editor/co-producer Isidore Bethel (known for his work on What We Leave Behind). In this dynamic, the exchange of learning was mutual within a young team that is predominantly Mexican-American, Texan, queer, women/non-binary, and Fronterizo.

Estefanía "Beba" Contreras, Protagonist-Director said: It means a lot to have this chance to tell our story in Hummingbirds, to represent Laredo and border culture, and highlight the beauty of our community in a time capsule of our friendship. We are proud to be releasing the film in the US with PBS POV so that it can be available and accessible to audiences for free.”

Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Protagonist-Director said: “Making Hummingbirds was really fun and we hope people have fun watching it. It is a dream to have our art on PBS. There are so many artists out there with stories to tell, ours is just one of an infinite number. We hope that many more will have the support and opportunities to share them with the world.”

Chris White, Executive Producer, POV said: "Hummingbirds is a raw, joyful, and introspective portrayal of youth in Laredo, Texas. The experiences of protagonist-directors Silvia and Beba genuinely reflect what it's like coming of age in an American border town. Whether through the lens of immigration, sexuality, abortion rights or family, the film captures their acerbic wit, and reveals both their vulnerability and self-determination as they enter adulthood.”

“Politically fueled and summer-bright.”

—Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

“[A] joyous indie hybrid… A film of deep honesty that’s carefully crafted.”

—Jason Gorber,Roger

“A vibrant, infectious and surprisingly hopeful portrait of a divided America,

fuelled not by idealism but dogged determination.”
—Nikki Baughan, Screen International

Hummingbirds is an Extra Terrestrial Films production, in association with Cowboy Bear Ninja and Field of Vision. The protagonist/directors are Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Estefanía “Beba” Contreras. The co-directors are Jillian Schlesinger, Miguel Drake-McLaughin, Diane Ng and Ana Rodríguez-Falcó. The producers are Jillian Schlesinger, Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, Leslie Benavides, Ana Rodríguez-Falcó, Diane Ng, and Rivkah Beth Medow. The co-producers are Isidore Bethel and Dawn Valadez. The executive producers are Rivkah Beth Medow, Jen Rainin, Robina Riccitiello, Gill Holland, and Erika Dilday and Chris White for American Documentary. Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is a co-sponsor of Hummingbirds.

Now in its historic 37th season, POV continues to share bold, visionary stories as America's longest running non-fiction series on television. In addition to standard closed captioning for all films, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities.

Hummingbirds will be available for streaming concurrently with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.


Download Hummingbirds Photos here.


Protagonist/Directors: Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Estefanía “Beba” Contreras

Co-Directors: Jillian Schlesinger, Miguel Drake-McLaughin, Diane Ng, Ana Rodríguez-Falcó

Producers: Jillian Schlesinger, Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, Leslie Benavides, Ana Rodríguez-Falcó, Diane Ng, Rivkah Beth Medow

Co-Producers: Isidore Bethel, Dawn Valadez

Co-presenters: Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB)

Executive Producers: Rivkah Beth Medow, Jen Rainin, Robina Riccitiello, Gill Holland

Cinematography: Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, Diane Ng

Editing: Isidore Bethel, Jillian Schlesinger, Leslie Benavides, Sophia Hernández, Ana Rodríguez-Falcó, Zulema Young-Toledo

Music: Estefanía “Beba” Contreras, Elijah Cruz, Brandan Hoy

Sound Design: Danielle Dupre

Production Sound: Ana Rodríguez-Falcó, Jillian Schlesinger

Post-Production Sound: Danielle Dupre, Kyle O’Neal, Eli Cohn, Charlie Vela, Matt McVinnie

Title Animations: Yensey Murillo

Color: Eyal Dimant, C Diaz

Languages: English, Spanish

Country: USA

Year: 2023

About the Filmmakers

Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Director - Protagonist, Hummingbirds

Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, they/them, is an independent filmmaker. activist, and transit planner for the City of Boston. Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, Silvia’s first feature film, Hummingbirds, won the grand prize for best feature film at Berlinale Generation. They’ve been honored with fellowships from Firelight Media, BAVC MediaMakers, CIFF/LEF, Doc Society, and NBCU Original Voices. Silvia is currently working on their second film, Los Papeles de mi Mami with support from Film Fatales and Sundance Institute.

Estefanía “Beba” Contreras, Director - Protagonist, Hummingbirds

Estefanía “Beba” Contreras, she/her, is a filmmaker, musician, photographer, and tattoo artist born in Mexico and raised in Laredo, Texas. Beba directed and created original music for Hummingbirds, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at Berlinale Generation 2023 and toured festivals all over the world, winning awards and critical praise. She is a 2021 NBCU Original Voices Fellow and 2023 Firelight Fellow. Beba makes music under the name Andromeda – you can find her songs, including the soundtrack of Hummingbirds, on Spotify.

Jillian Schlesinger, Producer, Editor, Co-Director, Hummingbirds

Jillian Schlesinger, she/they, is an independent creative producer, editor, and writer whose work accompanies emerging visionaries on collaborative filmmaking adventures. Past projects include Maidentrip (2013 SXSW Audience Award, Indiewire's Best Docs of 2014) and Hummingbirds (2023 Berlinale Generation Grand Prix for Best Feature, PBS POV). A 2023 DOC NYC 40 Under 40 honoree, Jillian's work has received support from Sundance Institute, Field of Vision, Ford Foundation | JustFilms, Doc Society, SFFILM, IDA, NYFA, Points North, and Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Miguel Drake-McLaughin, Producer, DP, Co-Director, Hummingbirds

Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, he/him, is a filmmaker, cinematographer, and founding partner at Cowboy Bear Ninja, a production company making films, TV, and commercials since 2011. Previous to Hummingbirds, Miguel directed Sky Line (DOC NYC 2015), a documentary about building an elevator to outer space. Miguel also shoots features including Valedictorian (Rotterdam 2015) and The Problem With Apu (DOC NYC 2017). Miguel was part of the inaugural cohort of NBCU Original Voices Fellows. His work has been supported by Sundance, IDA, Field of Vision, Ford Foundation | JustFilms, SFFILM, and Doc Society, among others.

Ana Rodríguez-Falcó, Producer, Co-Editor, Co-Director, Hummingbirds

Ana Rodríguez-Falcó, she/her, is a Mexico-born, Houston-raised filmmaker and bartender based in New York. Ana’s creative work pushes genre boundaries and emphasizes representation of immigrant identity and queer experience. She was part of the inaugural cohort of NBCU Original Voices Fellows and participated in VdR Industry Works in Progress. Her work has been supported by Sundance, IDA, Field of Vision, Ford Foundation | JustFilms, SFFILM, Doc Society, and Chicken & Egg Pictures, among others. Hummingbirds is her first film.

Diane Ng, Producer,Co-DP, Co-Director, Hummingbirds

Diane Ng, she/her, is a filmmaker from Hong Kong, now based in Brooklyn. Diane’s work mines personal trauma for humor and absurdity as a means to heal and reclaim truth. Her debut feature Hummingbirds won the Generation 14plus Grand Prix for Best Feature Film at Berlinale 2023. Other work includes Emily May Jampel’s Mānoa Valley (2024) and commercials for clients including Nike, Arri, and On Running. Diane was part of the inaugural cohort of NBCU Original Voices Fellows. Her work has been supported by Sundance, IDA, Field of Vision, Ford Foundation | JustFilms, SFFILM, Doc Society, and Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Leslie Benavides, Producer, Co-Editor, Hummingbirds

Leslie Benavides, she/her, was born and raised in southeast Houston. She has a BA from Brown University in Urban Public Policy. Her work, both policy-based and artistic, explores her upbringing in a mixed-status family, Indigenous rights, the War on Drugs in Latin America, and restorative justice. Leslie was a Sundance/WIF Strategy Intensive Fellow and a part of the inaugural cohort of the NBCU Original Voices Fellowship and participated in VdR Industry Works in Progress. Her work has been supported by Sundance, IDA, Field of Vision, Ford Foundation | JustFilms, SFFILM, Doc Society, and Chicken & Egg Pictures, among others. Hummingbirds​ is her first film.

Rivkah Beth Medow, Producer, Hummingbirds

Rivkah Beth Medow, she/her, is a Sundance x WIF and Film Independent fellow who makes character-driven films that deepen connections and build community. Her directing and producing credits include the Academy Award® shortlisted Holding Moses (SFFILM|The New Yorker); Jeannette (SFFILM); Ahead of the Curve (Frameline|STARZ), Sons of a Gun (SXSW|PBS); and The Nine (Visions Du Réel). Rivkah co-founded Frankly Speaking Films in 2021 to make mesmerizing films that center strong queer women and non-binary people.

Isidore Bethel Editor, Co-Producer, Hummingbirds

Isidore Bethel, he/him, makes work tackling recurrent themes of geographic displacement, aging, and art-making’s therapeutic potential. He directed Liam and Acts of Love; his editing and producing credits include What We Leave Behind, Of Men and War, So Late So Soon, The Taste of Mango, Caballerango, Blue Room, and Some Kind of Intimacy. Those films have screened at Cannes, Berlin, Sundance London, and SXSW as well as on Netflix, Op-Docs, MUBI, and Criterion. One of DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40” and Filmmaker’s “25 New Faces,” he has taught at La Fémis, UT Austin, and Parsons Paris.

Dawn Valadez Co-Producer, Hummingbirds

Dawn Valadez, she/her, is a second-generation Xicana, fiercely independent, queer artist. Along with her Co-Director Rodrigo Reyes their film Untitled Lorena (in production) won the 2024 DocLands Jury Prize for their recorded pitch. Dawn shines as the Producer/Co-director of The Pushouts (2018), earning the 2019 Imagen Best Documentary award. Working as a producer on many films she supports filmmakers across the country. Her work has received support from the Ford Foundation/Just Films, Sundance/SKOLL Stories of Change Fund, Tribeca All Access, and many others. Dawn is the Director of Youth and Artist Development at BAVC Media.


About POV

Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. The series is known for introducing generations of viewers to groundbreaking works like Tongues Untied, American Promise, Minding The Gap and Not Going Quietly, and innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Laura Poitras and Nanfu Wang. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries. All POV programs are available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.

POV goes “beyond the broadcast” to bring powerful nonfiction storytelling to viewers wherever they are. Free educational resources accompany every film and a community network of thousands of partners nationwide work with POV to spark dialogue around today’s most pressing issues. POV continues to explore the future of documentary through innovative productions with partners such as The New York Times and The National Film Board of Canada and on platforms including Snapchat and Instagram.

POV films and projects have won 47 Emmy® Awards, 28 George Foster Peabody Awards, 15 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards® and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at and follow @povdocs on social media.

About American Documentary, Inc.

American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia organization dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, the Open Society Foundations, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, Reva & David Logan Foundation, Park Foundation, and Perspective Fund. Additional funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the Chasing the Dream and Peril and Promise public media initiatives of The WNET Group, Chris and Nancy Plaut, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

About PBS

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