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The Independent Critic

Nic Santana
9 Mins.


 "Soy Chingon" Screening at Indy Film Fest This Week  
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Writer/director Nic Santana's 9-minute Soy Chingon aka I'm a Badass is a documentary short exploring the meaning of what is referred to as Mexico's favorite swear word, chingar. The film follows the filmmaker from an L.A. Mexican neighborhood, to New York, and back to Mexico City and includes interviews from his mother’s neighbor, to a NY-based DJ, and a professor from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Santana's approach is both comedic yet serious in examining the origin of the word yet, at its core is asking "What is a Mexican?" While one can't deny the comedic nature of the film, in the backdrop of a political season that has brought about discussions of walls and division and separation, it's a particularly important question even when presented with a certain lightness.

In both English and Spanish (with English subtitles), Soy Chingon is in competition amongst the documentary shorts as part of this week's Indy FIlm Fest and is screening in the "WTF?" collection. The film's first screening happened on July 15th with one more screening set for July 23rd at 1pm in Indianapolis Museum of Art's DeBoest Lecture Hall.

Soy Chingon presents as a rather experimental short, though once you pick up its vibe it's rather easy to ride along and enjoy Santana's entertaining yet informative presentation. The film is appropriately in a "WTF?" block of short films, because the odds are pretty strong that you'll find yourself watching it and going WTF?

Seriously, just go with it. While the tone occasionally transitions a bit unevenly and, indeed, it's likely the film that takes two viewings to fully appreciate, Soy Chingon is the kind of uniquely presented, quirky little short that one expects to find at indie film fests. It fits perfectly within its collection and I'm guessing those who speak Spanish or understand its cultural references will be most appreciative of it.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic