¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival Strives To Give Latinx Creatives a Voice

Photo courtesy of ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival Belatina, Latinx
Photo courtesy of ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival

The film industry, though entertaining, hasn’t been particularly inclusive. Filmmakers, actors, producers, and basically everyone involved in the creative process don’t look like those who are yearning for representation. Meaning, the voices, and faces of Latinx, Black, and Indigenous people, which, as you all know, have been historically excluded, are often missing. 

Thankfully, HITN TV, a leading Spanish-language media company that offers educational and cultural programming for the whole family, has stepped up to the plate and is committed to combating the inequalities found in the film industry by opening up entries for their ever-accessible festival, ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival. This is exciting especially since the potential awards include a cash prize and a scholarship!

¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival is an online film festival that works towards highlighting and supporting the minds of emerging young Latinx filmmakers and creatives. The film festival was originally set to go live in April 2020 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This initiative aims to shine a light on compelling, untold Latinx stories. We want to showcase the talents, vision, history, and culture of historically marginalized and underrepresented communities; in this way, the festival gives young Latinos a platform to express their perspectives through film,” said Lina Sands, Director of Marketing at HITN.

However, the wait is over as they are now accepting entries for the first edition of ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival, which will debut from September 18th to October 16th, 2021. 

Through this event, people who aren’t often allowed to be on the screen or even behind the cameras, are now being given a platform where they can be represented properly — allowing creatives to work towards expressing themselves through art, creativity, and innovation in an authentic manner. This, will no doubt, give these future changemakers the chance to move past the cliched depictions of Latinx people in the film industry. 

Aside from that, the film festival will also host a tri-weekly series of networking and entertaining virtual panels featuring well-known, award-winning filmmakers, artists, and creatives. These spaces will allow the guests to share their stories, experiences, and insights to help young Latinx people looking to further their careers in the film industry. Information on the upcoming panels, named, “Conversations Among X,” can be found at CineYouthFest.org.

“This festival’s theme speaks to what brought us to this moment in time and invites us to imagine a future where we are all seen, heard, and most importantly, counted,” said Luis Alejandro Molina, ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival Director. 

“Beyond promoting diversity and inclusion, the festival and its series of “Conversations Among X” virtual panels are designed to invite discussion and reflection among the larger Latinx content-creating community about the issues that affect us today. Whether you are an amateur filmmaker in college or a high school student who aspires to make movies one day, we want to hear your story.”

Who’s eligible?

By now, anyone reading this should be excited about this amazing opportunity. 

If so, below you will find the eligibility requirements, so read them carefully:

  • Entries will be selected by submission only. Films must be 30 minutes or less in length.
  • All film genres, including documentary, drama, animation, comedy, and narrative, are eligible.
  • Filmmakers must be 16 years of age or older to be eligible to enter, or if younger, submit parental / guardian permission.
  • Only films completed between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 31, 2021, are eligible for this festival. Visit CineYouthFest.org for a complete list of rules and eligibility criteria.

The ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival has made it possible for a large array of young creatives to enter. They are even accepting short films in English as well as Spanish. 

What are the fees?

Qualified filmmakers can submit their entries on CineYouthFest.org or through Film Freeway.

Submission fees are structured as follows:

  • Early Bird Entry: Free from July 19, 2021, to Aug. 2, 2021.
  • Standard Entry: $20 submission fee from Aug. 3, 2021, to Aug. 16, 2021.
  • Late Entry: $25 submission fee from Aug. 17, 2021, to Aug. 30, 2021.

Special fees apply for student films:

  • Early Bird Entry: Free from July 19, 2021, to Aug. 2, 2021.
  • Standard Entry: $10 submission fee from Aug. 3, 2021, to Aug. 16, 2021.
  • Late Entry: $15 submission fee from Aug. 17, 2021, to Aug. 30, 2021.

Let’s talk awards!

The selection of films for the ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival will be announced on September 13 and the selection will be screened on CineYouthFest.org from Sept. 18 to Oct. 16, 2021.

An independent jury will evaluate all entries based on a variety of factors, including awareness of the subject matter, creativity in the approach of the subject matter, technical aspects such as directing, acting, cinematography and editing, originality, and inspirational and storytelling impact of the piece. Judges will select two winners from a pool of finalists. A grand prize winner will be chosen to receive a cash prize of $5000. An additional student scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded to the outstanding work submitted by a student. Certificates for e-learning courses will be given to recipients of honorable mentions to continue mastering their craft. Winners will be announced at the end of October on HITN GO and the ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival website.

“We’re excited to be back and look forward to welcoming submissions for our rescheduled 2021 inaugural edition,” added ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival’s Director. 

Now, go on and enter; you never know what can happen!