• Director

    Mauricio Sierra

  • Country, Year, Length

    Mexico, 2022, 14:43

  • Category

    Narrative Short

  • Format


  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

KINSHIP: 4 films about the need to connect.

April 27, 2024 @ 12:30PM • MoMI Bartos


An impressionistic fable, seen through the eyes of a young outcast (Ciela) with a vivid imagination, who forms a secret friendship with an octopus.

As her fantasy world collides with reality, Ciela sets off a chain of events that disrupt her sleepy fishing village.


Mauricio Sierra, Director
Walker Kalan, Writer
Cesar Leon, Producer
David Kohan, Producer
Mónica del Carmen, Key Cast
Ishbel Bautista, Key Cast
Clementina Garcia Lopez, Key Cast
Jose Antonio Becerril, Key Cast
Josfat Tuyub Ku, Key Cast
Zuendy Hernandez, Key Cast
Zueyri Hernandez, Key Cast

Director Statement

I feel a special kinship to the protagonist in Ciela. Growing up I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. In school I couldn’t concentrate, as magical stories flooded my imagination. On the outside, I was the quietest kid in class, but beneath my shy exterior, there was a raging river of escapist fantasy and crippling insecurity.

As an adult, my imagination still takes over my reality. I’ve channeled that creative energy through my work as a fashion photographer and commercial director, within an ecosystem fueled by beauty and perfection. But since becoming a father four years ago, I’ve begun to grapple with the consequences of this beauty-obsessed image-making.

Ciela is an exploration of a child’s struggle with self-image and isolation. It is a modern fable, exploring the road to self-acceptance — a road littered with obstacles and few clear signs to point you the way home. It is the story I wish I was told as a child, and the story I hope to share with my daughter.

Ciela is also a celebration of the rhythms, textures and traditions of life in rural Mexico. One of my deepest inspirations for this film is the Mexican folk art tradition known as ex-votos. These are small paintings on scraps of metal, which typically depict a miracle – a child surviving a drowning, say, or a farmer growing crops despite a terrible drought – accompanied by a handwritten narrative.

I’ve drawn from the allegorical quality of these paintings, and from their dynamic visual compositions. In the way an entire story can be told through a single ex-voto image, I hope that the story of Ciela can be understood without subtitles.

Ex-voto images are often described as “naïve,” which feels a little condescending. But I choose to take a positive meaning from this descriptor. For me, the works belong to the people, rather than the institutions and those in power – and the imagery reflects the way that stories are passed down by word of mouth, from generation to generation.

I imagine Ciela as a product of this kind of storytelling. A shared experience, shaped and refracted through collective memory.

Director Biography

Mau Sierra es un director, fotógrafo y artista visual basado en Ciudad de México. Como director comercial ha trabajado en campañas globales con marcas como NETFLIX, NIKE, CHANEL & LOUIS VUITTON, su trabajo ha aparecido en publicaciones como VOGUE, I-D Magazine, Interview Magazine. Este short film está dedicado a su hija Constance y a su abuela Lela.


Mau Sierra is a director, photographer and visual artist, born and based in Mexico City. As a commercial director, he has worked on campaigns for Nike, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. His work has appeared in Vogue, I-D and Interview. This film is dedicated to his daughter, Constance and his grandmother Lela.