Team Meryland follows a young girl’s miraculous journey as she fights to become the Junior Olympics champion

Gabriel Gaurano’s documentary short film Team Meryland focuses on a 12 year old Mexican-American boxer’s second chance at life as she overcomes a past medical trauma. This inspirational story already screened at many prestigious film festivals including the Oscar qualifying Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and Cleveland International Film Festival where it won the FilmSlam Best Short Award. It will be screening at the 2021 Indy Shorts International Film Festival: Heartland Film this month.

Born and raised in the Watts projects of Los Angeles, twelve-year-old female boxer, Meryland Gonzalez fights in-and-out of the ring attempting to be crowned the 2019 Junior Olympics Champion.

Director/Editor/DP Gabriel Gaurano is a filmmaker whose work has screened and garnered awards at festivals like AFI, Palm Springs International Shorts Fest, and many more. Gabriel’s experiences have pulled him towards telling real stories of resilient families who push through the impossible. From a transgender navy corpsman fighting for her legitimacy to a 12-year-old female boxer from Watts LA, Gaurano creates character-driven documentaries and is passionate about capturing real stories filled with family and heart.

Producer Julia Elihu’s love for her Persian culture inspires her to create, and tell stories from a unique multi-cultural perspective. Julia brought these themes to her short film Yasamin, a film based on her mother’s story of immigration, which was an Official Selection at the 2018 AFI Film Festival. Her other films have premiered at the San Diego Int. Film Fest, NFFTY, and more. Elihu finished her latest short film Winter of 79 which is based on her families’ stories escaping Iran during the 1979 revolution.

Co-Producer Jason Phillips aims to diversify LGBTQ+ narratives and tell uniquely empowering stories. From a LGBTQ+ Romantic Comedy Western to a 1930s period piece about the first all black cast to perform Macbeth directed by Orson Welles, Jason’s work spans different genres and all depict the power of love. His films have screened and won awards at festivals worldwide including SCAD Savannah Film Festival, NFFTY, and Cleveland International Film Festival. Phillips recently produced the feature film Voodoo MacBeth which won Best of Fest at the Sedona International Film Festival and is in development on various upcoming projects.

Team Meryland will be screening virtually at the Indy Shorts International Film Festival – Heartland Film from July 20th – July 25th. It will also be screening at BlackStar Film Festival from August 4th – August 8th and the Oscar Qualifying Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival from August 9th – August 15th.


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