MFA Acting for Film alumna Tamara Bunker wrote, co-produced with NYFA alumna Adrenia Kemp, and acted in her New York Film Academy thesis film, “Treintañera.” Since completing the film, “Treintañera” has screened at several film festivals, having been crowned Best Comedy at the Official Latino Short Film Festival 2016, Best Student Film at the Los Angeles Movie Awards 2016, and Award of Merit Special Mention at the Latin/Hispanic – Best Shorts Competition. The film most recently screened at the Studio City Film Festival 2016.
“I learned most of what I know about film at NYFA, in the classrooms, on set with filmmaking students, and doing production workshops,” said Bunker. “I had some amazing teachers who helped me find my voice as a writer and as an actress. They made me believe in my ideas; they supported them and helped me improve them.”
The film is a short comedy about a young Mexican-American woman who lives with her Mexican Abuela (grandmother). She is torn between love and her career; she is soon to turn thirty, and is beginning to believe that there is something wrong with her because she hasn’t found a man she can relate to. She is persuaded by her Abuela to have a quinceañera party on her 30th birthday to help her find the man of her dreams – as both her grandmother and mother had done. On the same day, she gets offered her dream job.
The most challenging aspect of the production for Bunker was writing a relatable story that could be told in nine minutes, and creating empathetic characters.
“I wanted to write about something I understood — women,” said Bunker in regards to writing the screenplay. “I was inspired by women in general. I was also inspired by what it means to be a young woman today — the social pressures that still exist, the barriers, the problems women have to face in order to reach their goals. I have friends who want to get married and have children, and some who don’t. I wanted to show that women have the choice to do whatever they want, and be whatever they want to be. All paths have to be acceptable and possible.”
Bunker also wanted to express the importance of the family in Mexico, and the Mexican traditions. “I wanted to tell a funny story that would embrace these aspects of Mexican life, and would show how important they are both in Mexico as well as in many parts of the US,” she added. “The quinceañera party seemed to be a perfect setting to illustrate these varying facets.”
Bunker is currently working on the feature of “Treintañera,” writing a horror web series, and directing a NYFA acting thesis film this month.