Thirty years ago, Idaliz Villanueva fled with her two daughters from a violent marriage. While much time has passed, the effects of violence still reverberate throughout their lives and in their home of Puerto Rico, where a state of emergency was called amid a massive rise in domestic and gender-based violence.

In search of meaning within their family narrative and an openness to creatively reframe the traumas of their past, the women of the Villanueva-Rodriguez family come together to hold space for their experiences, crafting a science fiction script that reimagines themselves in an alternative world where women hold the power. As the plot of the science fiction film unfolds in parallel with the family’s creative process for creating it, we watch the family journey together to navigate their own personal grief, the narrative challenges of creating a film, and the fantastical demands of the world they have created.

How will the Villanueva-Rodriguez family respond? Will they seek justice or revenge? Are they willing to sacrifice a man for freedom and enter MATININÓ participating in the same sequence of violence that they fled? Can machismo, misogyny and violence be erased or does it live on in the women in subtle ways? By asking these complex questions through the lens of a created work, we are able to tie the story this family has lived to the stories they tell.

MATININÓ will move seamlessly between fantasy and fact, the myth and the mundane, and levity and gravity as the family presents an alternative world intrinsically wrapped into their own. Through re-imagining the hierarchical structures of power and the ways culture weaponizes gender, the family offers both a challenge to the current patriarchal landscape and an invitation to liberation through collective power and imagination; that we may become the stories we have the courage to reimagine.

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