Award: Artist Research & Development Grant

Discipline: Digital Media arts

Project Collaborator(s): Chance Roberts 

City/Town: Tucson

Year: 2018

Artist Website: 

Portraying queer and queer people of color as complex, three dimensional human beings reinforces the communities’ visibility in the world, breaks stereotypes, and reaches audiences who may not be queer, sparking discussion of issues surrounding these communities.

Since graduating from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media and Film in 2015, Tucson filmmaker Clarice Bales has primarily worked on documentary films. Her Artist research and Development Grant will support the production of a short narrative film, a work of fiction that is no less rooted in real world issues and the filmmakers personal struggles.

Shot in Tombstone and Bisbee, ‘La motochorra’ tells the story of Liz, a young queer woman who has never left her hometown. The town, a struggling former-mining community full of crumbling buildings, reflects the film’s central narrative of depression and forgotten dreams. Through Liz’s journey, however, a spark of hope is introduced, a demonstration of how the cycle of depression can start to be broken by small steps towards change.

Through ‘La motochorra’ Bales aims to offer a positive representation of queer people, particularly queer people of color, depicting them as complex, three dimensional human beings. She hopes the film will reach diverse audiences, spark discussion, and increase awareness about depression and other challenges commonly faced by members of the LGBTQ community, breaking stereotypes and increasing the community’s visibility.

To help tell her story, Bales has assembled a team of talented local artists and technicians. Azúl Celeste Galindo and Gia Gerardo will play the lead characters Liz and Soledad, while Fausto Olmos will play the role of Liz’s father. She will work closely with cinematographer Chance Roberts on shot composition and lighting for the film. Other crew members include Rogelio Camarillo, Marcos Vidal, Emily Belleranti, and Sara Luu. An original score will be provided by Tucsonan band Juju Fontaine.

Clarice Bales graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media and Film in 2015. She is a B camera operator and assistant editor on ‘Tastebud Memories’ (in production), a documentary about the relationship between food, immigrants, and the Tucson community. On the three part series ‘The Camino Way’ (in production), a film about the transformations of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, she was a B camera operator and assistant editor. She worked as a sound production mixer on ‘Donnie’ (in production), a film about Donnie Cianciotto, a transgender man and his struggle to get top surgery in a state that doesn’t cover gender reassignment surgery under insurance.

Artist photo by Candace Ripley

banner Image: Clarice Bales. Photo by Candace Ripley.