Gustavo Bruin, AKA Chicho, is a tightly wound bundle of enthusiasm, perfectionism, and gay panic. A mundane pimple on the day of his University grad photos hurls him down a chaotic spiral of hallucinations that triggers an identity crisis. CHICHO is a surreal, experimental short film that depicts the impact of the Venezuelan crisis on its diaspora, where displacement, survivor's guilt, and religious surveillance collide.

  • Arlen Aguayo Stewart
    Date Night
  • Augusto Bitter
    cannibal (TQFF), for this child I prayed (Montréal Pride)
  • Augusto Bitter
    cannibal (TQFF)
  • Claren Grosz
  • Arlen Aguayo Stewart
    Date Night, Lavandería, BDE
  • Augusto Bitter
    Key Cast
    So Much Tenderness (TIFF '22), Hotel for the Holidays (Amazon), Ezra (OUTtv), Coroner (CBC), True Dating Stories (CBCGem)
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama, Surreal, Experimental, Horror, Fantasy
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 2, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    48,838 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival (40th Anniversary)
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    March 25, 2023
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Fairy Tales Film Festival (25th Anniversary)
    Calgary, Alberta
    June 8, 2023
    Canadian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Philadelphia Latino Film Festival
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    United States
    July 8, 2023
    Official Selection: Los Shorts
Director Biography - Arlen Aguayo Stewart

Based in Toronto and Montreal, speaker of five languages, Arlen has an eclectic background in film, theatre, business, and dance. Her acting career has brought her to festivals all over the world. Her starring role in ROADS IN FEBRUARY won her a VFCC Best Actress Award, the film also won Best First Feature at TIFF and TIFF TOP TEN in 2019. Her directing debut, DATE NIGHT, co-created with the incredible Margarita Valderrama has won the TSIFF short film challenge, and an award of commendation at Canada Shorts, as well as being in their official selection along with the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, New York Latino Film Festival, and the Breakthrough Film Festival 2021. She also co-produced the film LAVANDERÍA with Peachboy, an official selection at the New York Latino Film Festival, Cine+MAS, and Reelworld, where it received nominations for Standout Producer, Director, Cinematographer, and Actors. Arlen is currently in post-production for a short film called BDE by Jasmin Medew, and a music video by Juno-nominated artist Storry.

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Director Statement

CHICHO is a coming of age journey in so-called Canada haunted by the worsening socio-economic crisis in Venezuela. My personal relationship to and knowledge of Chilean politics and displacement greatly informs my approach to this film. We sought vulnerability and humour above all, without sensationalizing the aftereffects of immigration and trauma. It is a short, funny, ambitious film that centres a queer diasporic experience in front and behind the camera. CHICHO brought together a wonderful team of BIPOC, Queer, and Trans filmmakers thanks to the support of the Toronto Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and a strong community of donors, families, and friends.