Margo Guernsey’s COUNCILWOMAN to Have its Los Angeles Premiere at the LA Latino Film Festival


Councilwoman, director Margo Guernsey’s debut feature film profiling Dominican-born city councilwoman Carmen Castillo, is set to have its Los Angeles premiere at the 2019 edition of the LA Latino International Film Festival Film Festival (LALIFF), taking place July 31 – August 4 at the TCL Chinese Theatre, in anticipation to its national broadcast this fall as part of PBS’ America ReFramed.

A personal and inspiring portrait, Guernsey’s behind-the-scenes foray had its world premiere at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival earlier this year and has played in several film festivals including Havana in New York, DC Labor Filmfest, Workers Unite!, Salem, San Diego Latino and Philadelphia Latino. The documentary film positions Castillo as a powerful face of contemporary American grassroots politics at a moment pivotal in the fight for immigrant rights and political representation in the United States.

This story starts where most political films end: Councilwoman Castillo has just won an election to the Providence, Rhode Island City Council. Her victory is despite talk in the neighborhood that she is merely an uneducated “maid.” But, as a councilwoman, Castillo faces her toughest challenge yet: balancing her full-time job as a hotel housekeeper, her family, and her personal life with corporate interests organizing against her supporters.

Guernsey and protagonist Castillo have known each other for eighteen years. Guernsey started documenting Castillo’s political leadership after she first ran for office in 2011. They had no idea at the time that only a few short years later, questions about whether or not our politicians reflect everyday American people would become front and center to national conversations.

Through an intimate cinema vérité approach and personal proximity, Councilwoman becomes a timely portrait of a woman part of a growing number of Latina activists—such as rising political superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—that are changing the face of politics in this country.