The premium cable network is set to debut 15: A Quinceañera Story, a collection of four short documentary films, on Dec. 19-22, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively. Executive produced by music industry veteran Tommy Mottola and directed by Emmy winner Matthew O’Neill and Latin Grammy-winning musician Thalía Sodi, the films follows five Latina girls from different cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds as they transition to adulthood, all observing the traditional rite of passage of the quinceañera, a celebration of their 15th birthdays.
The short films will premiere on four consecutive nights, airing simultaneously on HBO and HBO Latino. O’Neill and Xochitl Dorsey also produced, along with HBO’s senior producer Sara Bernstein and executive producer Sheila Nevins.
“As a Latina, I’m proud to share our culture and shine a spotlight on these dynamic, talented and beautiful young women featured in these four films,” Thalia Sodi said in a statement. “These young women are fierce and determined and represent the rising generation of American Latinas who are helping define the future of our country,” added Mottola.
“The featured young women are examples of the breadth and diversity of the Latina experience in America,” commented O’Neill. “We’re proud to celebrate them and their communities as they contend with the complicated realities of growing up in America today.”
15: A Quinceañera Story follows five young girls and their families as they navigate the complexities of coming of age in the U.S. From grappling with gender identity to the constant fear of having a loved one deported, the issues raised in each piece reflect the current cultural and political landscape.
The quinceañera girls profiled include Zoey, a young Mexican-American living south of Los Angeles who was assigned male gender at birth and celebrates with her trans-madrinas (godmothers) who never had quinceañeras of their own; and Rosi, an American growing up in Florida with a mother from Guatemala and a father from Cuba, who combines all three of her cultures for a quinceañera in Havana, where she chooses to celebrate because her beloved grandfather cannot get a visa to the U.S.
Also profiled is Ashley, an amateur East L.A. boxer whose mother is a “Dreamer” and whose father has been deported. Nervous about her quinceañera and her first official fight, she also struggles with the reality that her coach is undergoing deportation procedures. The final film centers on Jackie and Nina, two best friends from San Antonio, who decide to honor their multi-generational Mexican American heritage by mixing their joint quince with their love of escaramuza, a traditional Mexican horse-dancing display.