Archive for the Producer Category

U.S. Embassy Celebrated American Heritage Month in Ecuador with DreamTown Screenings

My recent trip to Ecuador….

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This past February, I had the pleasure of traveling to Ecuador, courtesy of the U.S. Embassy and by invitation of Ambassador Todd C. Chapman, for screenings of DreamTown in celebration of African American Heritage Month and Afro-Ecuadorian culture.

As the producer representing our team, Director Betty Bastidas (Maracuya Productions) and Producer Christian Mejía Acosta (Retrogusto Films), I was incredibly touched to participate in an event honoring African culture through a film showing the struggles that three soccer players from the impoverished community of Chota Valley — Anibal Chala, Carlos Maldonado and World Cup player Ulises de la Cruz — face on their path to a better future through the sport.

Traveling to Quito, my birthplace, with a project that has been so close to me for the past few years was truly inspirational and a dream come true. DreamTown was not an easy production to complete, between following three distinct stories from the U.S. and then raising funds to ensure the film would be completed (2 successful Kickstarter campaigns and many grants), the experience was one of personal and professional growth.

Throughout these years, I have met so many people from various communities — storytellers, filmmakers, soccer aficionados, high school and college students, business, civic and community leaders, mother and fathers, brothers and sisters and families — who shared how they were impacted by a story that underscores the reality that “the other” in society confronts while reaching for a dream. For some, that dream is accomplished with hard work and unwavering consistency, for others that dream may transform itself into a more attainable goal while remaining noble in its cause. After all, we all are looking for belonging and a purpose in life.

DreamTown has been a long and winding journey for each of us on the production team. What is interesting is that while we, independent filmmakers and storytellers, work on our passion projects, we too experience the same forms of struggle in completing our projects. So much goes into a production and so much more goes into getting the word out and building our audiences.

Showing our film in Ecuador, where DreamTown was shot and where the heart of the story is, during its final stage of the film festival circuit before acquisition and distribution, was one of the highlights of my career. Seeing engaged audiences, watching them react to specific scenes, hearing them laugh during lighter moments, and answering questions from the audience, was a profound personal experience. This is the reason why I love being a filmmaker. For me it’s simple, my commitment is to share stories that give voice to underserved communities with the goal to inspire compassion and motivate others to connect to universal themes celebrating the human spirit.

Again, I’d like to thank the incredible support DreamTown and I received from the U.S. Embassy, Ambassador Todd. C. Chapman and the following: Program Officers (Quito) Nazanin Berarpour, PDO; Alexandra Anda, Outreach Coord; Program Officers (Guayaquil) Erin Markley, PDO; Carlos Coello, Cultural Affairs Asst.

Also, a BIG Thank you to Diego Arcos (TC Television), Lucciola Gonzales, Director of Fundación Afroamerica XXI, Jorge León (Duran Mayor’s Assistant), Juan Martin Cueva, Director of the School of Film at the Universidad de las Artes, Dr. Carlos de la Torre (FLACSO), Victoria Proaño (UTN), Helene Sikos/Juan Fernando Verdesoto/Michelle Dávila (Yachay University), Jorge Luis Narváez (at Centro Cultural Ibarra del Ministerio de Cultura). If I have inadvertently left someone out, I apologize.

Diario El Norte, El Comercio, Ecuador TV, UTN TV Station, Radio Publica del Ecuador, El Telégrafo

The U.S. Embassy Organized the following screenings of DreamTown in Ecuador at:

· El Nacional with youth soccer players (Tumbaco)

· Centro Cultural Ibarra del Ministerio de Cultura

· Yachay University (Urcuquí)

· Universidad Técnica del Norte (Ibarra)

· FLACSO (Quito)

· Public Screening at Super Cines (Quito)

· Defensoría del Pueblo (Guayaquil)

· Centro de Convenciones (Duran)

· Universidad de las Artes (Guayaquil)

· CEN Centro (Guayaquil)

When We Were Apollo Documentary – Countdown to Kickstarter Campaign



John Filson
Producer | Campaign Manager

Giovanna Aguilar
Producer | Media Relations

When We Were Apollo, a New Documentary Film about Apollo’s Undiscovered Heroes Launches Crowdfunding Campaign on Kickstarter, September 26, 2017 

Doing the big, impossible things brings out the best of ourselves.

Los Angeles, California, September 13, 2017 — Contact Light Films announced today the first phase of funding for its feature-length documentary film When We Were Apollo (W3A), currently in pre-production, to launch via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter on September 26, 2017.

Space exploration, physics, technology and the pure spirit of innovation owe an eternal debt to the astronauts and NASA figureheads who took us to the moon.

But what about Apollo’s lesser-known heroes —the builders, technicians and engineers who also committed themselves to the mission? What was that intangible spirit of tackling the impossible that made them succeed? Where is that spirit today?

Stories of local heroes are resonating with diverse audiences, from the history buff to the space aficionado, from Baby Boomers to Generation Y, and with people in the United States and around the world. When We Were Apollo is uniquely positioned to capture, engage and grow audiences with the real-life accounts of local heroeswhose stories are yet to be shared.

Watch Preview

“In When We Were Apollo, and in your team’s vision, we see a compelling and timely aspirational narrative in humanity’s reach toward new frontiers, one that transcends the boundaries of race and class, and the differences of individuals in America.”
–  Jeff Gomez, CEO and Founder of Starlight Runner Entertainment.

“We appreciate all the ways that heroes of yesterday and today embody the spirit of Apollo in their daily lives—that conviction that dreaming big and tackling the impossible is really, really important,”      –  Zack Weil, Director of When We Were Apollo

About the project:

When We Were Apollo introduces audiences to several unknown heroes from Apollo’s workforce, and reveals what putting a human being on the moon meant to them. It will also feature young people from the newest generation focused on the next giant leaps for mankind, and what wisdom Apollo’s heroes offer for their journey.

When We Were Apollo aims for impact beyond the film:

  • A participatory effort to capture part of our history we would otherwise lose as the Apollo generation begins to exit the world’s stage
  • Online engagement and partnerships with popular organizations before and after the film help uncover Apollo stories no one has heard before
  • To create a compilation of new full-length interviews with Apollo heroes beyond the segments that appear in the film.

Production will begin in Dec. 2017 and slated to shoot on location in Huntsville, Alabama; Houston, Texas; and Cape Canaveral, Florida. The film will premiere in 2019, in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing in 1969.

About the W3A Kickstarter Campaign:

The Kickstarter campaign launches Sept. 26th and wraps on Oct. 31. It will fund the first phase of filming, which includes the main interviews with several undiscovered Apollo heroes. Backing this campaign means helping to preserve a piece of our history we will otherwise lose. It also sends the message that people still believe in the spirit that Apollo’s heroes embodied: a community coming together to tackle the huge, “impossible” things facing humankind. (Media teams: Click here to privately preview the Kickstarter campaign page.)

In addition to a special advanced release of the film, backers can receive:

  • an Apollo Oral History—a compilation of full-length interviews not seen in the film
  • a hardcover photobook and behind-the-scenes video of the production process, and
  • plenty of When We Were Apollo memorabilia and other incentives.


Director Zack Weil, at Contact Light Films

Producers Giovanna Aguilar and John Filson

Director of Photography Kyle McConaghy

Co-Producer Sterling Macer

Post-Production Company

Park Avenue Post

Attached to the W3A production is world-renowned transmedia expert Jeff Gomez, CEO and Founder of Starlight Runner Entertainment.

For more information:







John Filson
Producer | Campaign Manager

Giovanna Aguilar
Producer | Media Relations








Movie Fans of the Apollo Space Program – Join Our Mission

Check out the latest video of the documentary When We Were Apollo by Director Zach Weil.

Have you ever wondered what it was like to work on the Apollo missions? When We Were Apollo will take you back to a time when hundreds of thousands of people, from all parts of the USA, came together to put a man on the moon.

Follow our journey as we – the filmmakers – bring you stories about “the spirit of Apollo – that belief that we can do big things regardless of what stands in our way is still with us. And we want to make sure it continues on, as we chart a course forward. It’s our deepest hope through this film, and beyond that, we will always endeavor to do the big things, especially when times are hard, because they push us to become the best versions of ourselves. On behalf of the production team, Thank You for support this film and for all the ways you embody the spirit of Apollo in your daily life. See you out there.” – Zach Weil

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When We Were Apollo Documentary Directed by Zach Weil

Giovanna Aguilar Joins Producing Team of When We Were Apollo



When we work together, we can make the impossible dream a reality.

When we believe in our unlimited potential, we can accomplish the unimaginable.

The “When” is now, and it begins with a tribute taking us back to an era that has inspired dozens of films, generated numerous industries, and influenced the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and empowered communities around the earth to reach for the stars.

It’s time to remember the Apollo Space Program Era, and I am excited to share that I recently joined the producing team of When We Were Apollo (W3A), a feature-length documentary in pre-production (slated for 2019 release), written and directed by Zach Weil.

W3A takes us back to when individuals, working collaboratively in communities, were the real-life heroes working quietly and diligently, behind the scenes, making the improbable mission to the moon an attainable journey and collecive reach beyond the stars.

I join fellow producer John Filson in bringing Zach’s vision to reality. Currently, we are connecting with communities throughout the country in Alabama, Texas, and Florida, learning about inspiring persons who were part of the Apollo missions. Production is set to begin fall 2017.

If you have a story to share, feel free to reach out to me.


We will be launching a Kick Starter campaign in late August, and look forward to your contributions and feedback. For more information, contact us at


When We Were Apollo is a feature-length documentary film exploring the enduring impact of the Apollo Space Program through the eyes of five extraordinary behind-the-scenes heroes who helped put a human being on the moon.

The film is scheduled for completion in time for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 in 2019.


When We Were Apollo is scheduled for completion in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 2019. But just like Apollo, the journey to making it happen is just as important as the “landing” itself: JOIN OUR MAILING LIST.










Vivir Del Cuento, a Transmedia Project on Ecuador’s Oral Storytelling Tradition

Stop Motion Workshops | Cultural Animation Series | Documentary

by Giovanna Aguilar

I am excited to announce that I have signed on as an Executive Producer of Vivir Del Cuento, both the name of the transmedia project and the production company whose members are an incredibly talented team of storytellers based in Quito, Ecuador.

It found me through the light and talents of Bernarda Cornejo. With the utmost respect for the work that has begun with so much spirit during a tragic time in Ecuador’s history, I am honored and humbled to be included in this venture honoring cultural diversity and oral tradition.

In recognition of Vivir del Cuento’s invaluable impact as a storytelling project highlighting the narratives of Ecuadorians displaced by the 2016 earthquake, the United States Embassy in Quito, Ecuador awarded this project a Federal Assistance grant of $23,000.

How a Tragic Earthquatke Inspired Vivir Del Cuento

On April 16, 2016, Ecuador was devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that directly affected two provinces: Manabi and Esmeraldas.

In response to the catastrophe, a team of talented media professionals set off on a journey to preserve the oral traditions of Manabi and Esmeraldas. In the process, Felipe Lemarie, Juan Suárez, Olivia Garzón, Miguel Mateo Cármenes, Bernarda Cornejo and Paula Jácome formed their production company Vivir Del Cuento in collaboration with the animation and design studio ANANAY, which in Quichua means something beautiful or cool.

They began their venture by producing workshops to teach children how to create short videos and develop their storytelling skills with stop motion animation. Together, the production team and the children, have been capturing the cultural traditions handed down by respected elders in their local communities.

ANANAY’s goal with Vivir del Cuento is to safeguard the cultural integrity and diversity of these regions by igniting youth’s interest in their ancestry, empowering youth’s storytelling skills, and capturing all of this process in a documentary format for educational purposes at all levels.

Check back for updates on this project in July 2017, including information on how you can be part of and help broaden the reach and impact of Vivir del Cuento’s mission.

Creditos Vivir del Cuento

En Colaboración con:

Dumas Mora
María Mercedes Zambrano
Línver Nazareno
Rosa Wila

Productora Ejecutiva
Candesco Productions
Giovanna Aguilar

Felipe Lemarie
Juan Suárez

Olivia Garzón
Miguel Mateo Cármenes

Bernarda Cornejo y Paula Jácome





























Documentary DreamTown Screening at Yale Feb 1 at 7pm

DreamTown Ecuador/USA. 2016 (Director Betty Bastidas)

Q&A with producer Giovanna Aguilar

DETAILS: Wednesday, February 1, 2017
7 p.m., Luce Hall Auditorium
34 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven 06511




Dreamtown is the inspiring story of three young Afro-Ecuadorian soccer players from La Chota who chase success in the face of extraordinary challenges. Entwined with their athletic dreams are the hopes of all Afro-Ecuadorians for whom soccer is more than a sport–it’s a means to attain recognition and respect.…/

Free and open to the general public.
Spanish with English subtitles.




On Vérité with Emmy Nominated Director-Writer-Producer Reinaldo Marcus Green

On Vérité Top List:  “What do you wish you had known on your first independent film?”

Reinaldo Marcus Green, one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film (2015) and recipient of the Spike Lee Film Production Grant 2016 (Monsters and Men,) shares best practices with Giovanna Aguilar on filmmaking.

On Vérité Top List for Independent Filmmakers is complementary content for an upcoming written article to be published on my blog at Giovanna Aguilar.

Watch Reinaldo Marcus Green’s acclaimed short film STOP—a young man’s livelihood is put to the test when he gets profiled and stopped by the police on his way home from practice, courtesy of Conde Nast’s steaming platform The Scene.

Giovanna Aguilar

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