Defined by Merriam-Webster as, "The attainment of prominence, respectability, recognition, or maturity," "coming-of-age" is widely considered a point in every young person's life when they walk the precarious edge between being a child and being an adult member of their community. This edge might be magnified by any number of given plot turns – be it a forced exile, an unexpected abandonment, or the opportunity to fight for something of great importance; in the feature directorial debuts, La Sirga by William Vega, They'll Come Back by Marcelo Lordello and Tall As The Baobab Tree by Jeremy Teicher, the coming-of-age narrative is central, poignant and profound. Vega, Lordello and Teicher not only tend to their subjects with compassion and intimacy, they also experiment with the artform, making strong and inventive choices in sound design, cinematography and narrative format. These powerful representations of the coming-of-age experience are set amidst different cultural contexts, yet all focus intently on the heroine, allowing specific cultural norms to be digested seamlessly while providing a rich and intriguing backdrop for each protagonist. All three films explore, in different ways, a sense of muted grief and desperation that meditates on the potential emotional reverb of lost innocence.
All director interviews and film screenings were facilitated with the aid of the San Francisco International Film Festival 2013.