Inspiration comes in many forms for this Los Angeles-based filmmaker. The stories she tells stem from her “own heritage and interests” and always serve a purpose. Her passions lie in setting the record straight and “telling stories that are usually ignored”. Meet Mylène Moreno — an independent filmmaker and fútbol fanatic that is making a difference through her art.

To better understand Mylène’s story, let’s go back to the beginning. After graduating from college, Mylène found herself deciding between law school or film school. Her passion for social justice was certain, and she quickly realized that filmmaking would allow her to “meet interesting people, indulge [her] own thirst for knowledge” and tell stories to make a difference. Through groundbreaking series like “¡CHICANO! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement” and sports-centered projects like “True Hearted Vixens”, Mylène has brought important stories to life and has many more on the way.

So, how does soccer fit into Mylène’s story? In addition to her upcoming project with a community college program, Mylène played at the collegiate level for Harvard University. Looking back at her experience, Mylène credits the sport for giving “shape and satisfaction to so much of [her] life.” Now that her city is getting ready to field a team, Mylène is excited to see our club take shape and build a community alongside the rest of our Angel City family.

This is Mylène Moreno.

Angel City FC’s Member Monday series is presented by Birdies.

Q: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

A: I finished college with a fire in my belly for social justice, not quite sure how to apply my education to quenching that drive, yet determined to find the way. As a senior I had written a thesis about an important California law granting collective bargaining rights to farmworkers and I had spent time with the United Farm Workers, where they were employing short films to generate public support. That experience inspired me to a fork in the road: law school or film school. Ha ha! Working for a campaign ad producer after college I discovered how enjoyable the entire process of producing visual content is and decided to embrace my generalist predilection. I could make films and wear all the many hats required of an independent filmmaker: meet interesting people, indulge my own thirst for knowledge, satisfy my creative maker urge, and tell stories to make a difference for others.

Q: How does your culture influence your filmmaking?

A: The stories I tell are always informed by my own heritage and interests. Both my parents are immigrants – from French Canada and Mexico. Their journeys intrigued me, even as a young kid, and I was conscious of the great good fortune my siblings and I enjoyed from our parents’ cultural traditions – our foods, our holiday celebrations, our attachments to our enormous families in Canada, Mexico and the US – and from their values. I spend a lot of time exploring my ancestors’ histories.

I don’t know why I am wired this way, but my passions lie in setting the record straight, telling stories that are usually ignored, about people who are not normally part of “the record”. Everything so far turns on an exploration of what it means to be American.

Q: You’ve featured female football players through projects like “True Hearted Vixens” and fútbol fanáticos in the past — what is your favorite part about showcasing sports stories?

A: Yes, sports are often on my mind and in my work. And yes, I am a lifelong competitor, another quality I earned honestly from both my parents. Making Vixens was a romp. So, so fun. The women in that film were chasing their dreams of greatness in a sport, full contact football, that is not considered their domain. They were ballsey and brilliant competitors, coming from all stripes of American society. I made another film about soccer fans – Mexican immigrant fanáticos. This was one of the first times I had been immersed in a world of documented and undocumented folks who were unabashedly flaunting their status, getting through their work weeks to advance and celebrate their true vocation and community – fútbol fandom and fellow Chivas fanatics. 

Q: What is the most rewarding and/or challenging part about being a filmmaker?

A: The most rewarding times are during production – when a community has allowed me into their lives to document something significant about themselves – and after, when the film is done and we all get the satisfaction of sharing their stories with bigger audiences. 

Q: You’re currently working on a story about female collegiate athletes. Can you share a bit about the project and what motivated you to take it on?

A: Currently I am working on two films. It is a bit overwhelming. One is about a Los Angeles strike during the Great Depression. This project’s big challenge is to give voice to the Mexicana strikers – because almost no one at the time thought to speak with them.

And the other is about a community college women’s soccer program. The team is in season right now, having overcome almost two years of pandemic hurdles. I wanted to follow this program during a full year to spotlight young women using their soccer skills to advance their lives. I viewed community college as a bridge between youth soccer and career-building college opportunity. It is a cliché, but the pandemic changed everything. The players I started following have mostly moved on, and the amazing women I am following now have all been impacted by the past 18 months. Soccer is giving them purpose, their coaches are providing structure, and they are, each in her own way, summoning their inner-fierceness to overcome the many setbacks the pandemic has wrought on their lives. 

Q: Is there a particular film you’ve been a part of that stands out in your career so far?

A: My first, the opening episode of a series, “¡CHICANO! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement” and my last, “On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam” were both spectacularly rewarding for different reasons.  CHICANO was such a groundbreaking series (when has Ken Burns ever cared about Chicano history?) that has opened many, many doors for me to tell more stories. And On Two Fronts brought my work full circle. I revisited a vital moment in that first episode – the anti Vietnam war movement – and also had the opportunity to spotlight the soldiers (along with their families) who were called to war. Thanks to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we had the funding to bring that film all over the Southwest with public events to honor Vietnam War veterans. The impact on the participants in my film of those in-person screenings and celebrations was beyond anything I ever anticipated. Now, one of the hosts of those events, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, in downtown LA, will feature both films in an exhibit that opens next month: “Patriotism in Conflict: Fighting for Country and Communidad.” 

Q: You played soccer in college. What was that experience like and how did it impact your life?

A: College soccer was different when I went than it is now. During the season everything revolved around the team and it helped me organize my academic priorities time-wise. But in the off season I had as much time as I wanted to engage in on-campus politics, take all the classes I fancied and produce that honors thesis I mentioned already. I loved every minute of my college soccer experience. I loved my teammates. I loved playing. There was nothing like the feeling of breaking a line on the dribble and finding the back of the net. It was absolute freedom. I continued to play recreationally for many years after. I got to coach my three sons before they moved onto professional coaches or other pursuits. It has given shape and satisfaction to so much of my life. Fortunately for me, college soccer was not a choice. I got to do that and everything else I wanted – and good thing, because I was not an elite player. Had there been a professional path, it would not have been an option for me. Amazing.

Q: What does it mean to you to have a professional women’s soccer team in Los Angeles?

A: It is going to be incredible. I cannot wait to be at the Banc for Angel City. Like so many other soccer fans, I spent a lot of psychic energy on international soccer, then more and more on the MLS. But in the past few years, online and on tv, it has been the NWSL for me. The national team players, past and present, are all rock stars in my book. (The only Barbie I have ever owned is Mia Hamm.) And their teammates are world class too. I am loving following their careers and team trajectories. It was so obvious at the twenty-year 1999 World Cup reunion that Los Angeles has a fanbase ready to support this team. Finally, we will have a local team of our own. 

Q: What are you looking forward to most from Angel City FC’s inaugural season in 2022?

A: Right now, I am just dying to learn about the roster and cannot wait for the team to be fleshed out. Next, I will start anticipating the little community we will create in our section at the stadium. It is going to be exciting to watch the first matches of this new team, all in the context of knowing about the many bad-ass women and men who had the vision to bring this team to fruition.  

Q: When do you feel bold? What makes you feel bold?

A: I still feel boldest when I am handling a ball. Now it is tennis, because the hamstrings can’t support 100-yard dashes, but it is the same feeling. Striking a ball with purpose and the proper touch to match the situation. I just love playing and competing

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