A new online film festival is responding directly to lack of Latinx representation in the film industry by offering young, emerging filmmakers the opportunity to flex their creative muscles for the world to see. HITN TV’s ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival, currently open for submissions from Latino filmmakers between the ages of 16 and 24, will debut this inaugural series of youth films beginning on April 15th and running through May 15th. This online film fest gives aspiring Latinx youth from all around the country a chance to tell their story, exposing them to an exciting competitive and creative endeavor.
“We wanted to showcase the unique perspectives and experiences of young Latinos, and we decided the best way to do this was to give young Latinos a platform to express their perspectives through film,” said Michael D. Nieves, President and CEO of Spanish-language media company HITN, in a statement.
In addition to giving underrepresented voices a platform to tell their story, the ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival offers a cash prize or scholarship for the best films of the bunch. The talent behind the top film will be awarded a $3,000 grand prize; the best entry submitted by a student will earn a $2,000 scholarship.
The theme for ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival’s first annual competition is The Past Meets the Present and Moves Into the Future, a broad theme that budding filmmakers will approach through one of five genres for their story — Technology, Arts & Culture, Environment, Education, or Social Empowerment — as a short Spanish- or English-language film that features a Latinx in a leading creative role either in front or behind the camera.
Alejandro Molina, the festival coordinator, said in a statement that this year’s theme asks filmmakers to consider how we got here — explicitly citing the 2020 Census and upcoming election — and how to get where we want to go as Latinos: “A future where we are all seen and heard.” This festival hopes to empower young filmmakers to be both seen and heard, perhaps for the first time.
“Films are one of the most powerful forms of storytelling,” Molina added. “They are highly effective at raising awareness, improving understanding and inspiring action and these are precisely our goals with this inaugural film festival.”
As an online festival, people from coast to coast will have access to selected submissions from emerging talent from across the country beginning in mid-April. Whether you’re a young creative looking to be inspired by your peers or simply a supporter of diverse storytelling, tuning into the ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Festival will get you an early glimpse at filmmakers to look for in the coming years. The festival will also host workshops and viewing parties.
Young filmmakers interested in learning more about this opportunity or are ready to submit their entry into the festival should visit the submission homepage. Submissions are open through April 5th.