La prensa

Dario Guerrero: Family and Film

Created: 04 October, 2018
Updated: 13 September, 2023
4 min read

Many things have happened in the life of filmmaker Dario Guerrero, which he has filmed for projects both personal and professional.

“I like recording things which cannot be repeated, I like spontaneity,” he said to La Prensa San Diego.

Among the events which have marked this creative and DACA beneficiary, the most important one is told in his documentary “Rocio”.

“It is a documentary based on the life of my mother and begins when she is diagnosed with cancer,” said Guerrero, who was entering his junior year at Harvard he received these news.

“So I left my studies for a year. I grabbed my camera and left to help her however I could.”

Born in Estado de Mexico, in central Mexico, Guerrero arrived in California shortly after his second birthday with his parents.

“When we arrived to California, my dad began to work as a sweeper for a construction company and my mom was a homemaker,” Guerrero remembered. ”From when I was little they would always tell me to focus on my studies.”

After several relocations throughout the Los Angeles area, Guerrero’s family settled in Long Beach. He says that during his younger years he was an outstanding student.

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“I thank God that I found school to be easy,” he jested.

While in 11th grade, Guerrero asked his parents to fill out a school form, which included Social Security Number information. This was the day he learned the truth about his immigration status.

“They had given me the number belonging to my brother, who was born in the U.S., without telling me and once the school told me the number wasn’t mine I was caught off guard,” Guerrero shared. “When I asked my parents what had happened, that is when they told me that I don’t have papers.”

Despite this finding, Guerrero did not quit on his goals and continued his way to college. Although now knowing he did not have a permanent legal status caused some fear and anxiety, thinking about his situation lead to him become even more determined in reaching his goals.

“I knew I could find a path. I didn’t know where, but I would do it,” he stated.

Finding support in his friend Oscar, who also lacks a permanent legal status, Guerrero would apply to and visited several top universities.

“Without Oscar everything would have been much more difficult,” he confessed, “I felt strong having someone in the same situation as I and the same goals.”

With much effort and faith in what he could achieve, Guerrero managed to get accepted into Harvard. There, this “Dreamer” majored in visual and environmental studies, which focuses on the photographic and cinematic techniques which he uses in in work.

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After two years at this Ivy League school, Guerrero dropped out for a year to care for his mother. Although doctors did not paint a favorable outcome for her, Guerrero and his family looked for the best possible outcome. Their search for the best treatment lead them back to Mexico, where a specialized clinic would tend to her specific needs.

In light of this, Guerrero filed for advanced parole, which would allow him to return to the United States as a DACA recipient, but did not hear back from authorities. Without knowing if his application for reentry into the United States was accepted, he left for Mexico to remain by his mother.

It is such intimate moments which “Rocio” exposes to the spectator, portraits of a family putting its American dream on hold for the wellbeing of one of their own, no matter the cost.

“If you want to know what happens next, it’s all in the movie,” Guerrero teased.

Today, Guerrero is looking to establish distribution rights for his feature and to tell more stories related to immigration from all over Southern California.

Among his current projects being shot in San Diego are interviews with other immigrants who are affected by current immigration law and brief testimonies from immigrants for an Instagram project.

And despite having many projects to wrap up and goals to reach, this filmmaker does not lose sight of the most important thing in his life.

“I call my mom every chance I get,” Guerrero said. “You have to appreciate every moment which you have with your loved ones because maybe you won’t have them tomorrow.”

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