In December 2011, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta was the first to disembark her ship. She’d won the coveted “first kiss,” a long-held Navy tradition that allows an officer to be the first to descend and greet his or her loved ones before anyone else. This time though, this “first kiss” would truly be a first. The military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy had only been repealed days before Gaeta shared the highly-anticipated public display of affection with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell. Onlookers reported that the kiss, though historic, was unremarkable in itself and afterwards, everyone went about their usual business. Yet it was so moving to independent filmmaker Niles Heckman that it inspired him to create “AURORAS,” a seven-minute-long sci-fi film about two women in love (actually, two cyborgs in love).
The film is set in the 22nd century and although its characters aren’t quite human, their struggles are. Asian-American actress, Jess Dela Merced and Filipino actress, Samantha Cutaran play cyborgs who face one of the hardest tests a relationship can endure- separation. The Latina Navy officers who inspired the film are no strangers to distance, but Heckman adds one more piece to the fictional puzzle. One of the cyborgs in the film is pregnant as she says goodbye and watches the love of her life depart on a mandatory long-term mission.
The film has been in production for three years and it’s still not quite done. There are several reasons for this which include the incredible time, effort, and money it takes to produce a film like this one. However, Heckman believes in this project and refuses to give up on it, citing his gay friends and family members as further motivation.
“Science fiction is not about the future, it’s about the present. Marriage equality and equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation,” he says.oject and refuses to give up on it, citing his gay friends and family members as further motivation.
Last week, “AURORAS” exceeded its Kickstarter campaign goal, but there’s still a ways to go before you can expect it at a theater near you. Visit here to learn more.