MFA, Film and Television Production '23
What inspired you to want to study the cinematic arts?
I did not know filmmaking and performance/cinematic arts was a possible path for my life until I was 19 years-old! I've always loved going to the movie theater, making little movies, painting, writing, taking pictures. Looking back on my life, I can connect the dots that show clear signs that a creative pursuit was a part of my destiny, but coming from a low-income, immigrant, Guatemalan family—and as the youngest daughter— I did not have any knowledge on how to breakthrough or get into the industry. I was inspired by my peers, my mentors, and ultimately the little voice inside me that knew I could do it and bring something unique and fresh to the table. Being able to see the Latinx and female communities (as well as other marginalized peoples) rise and break ceilings inspires me to be a part of the generation that changes the game and the arts for the better. I know there is a place for young women and people like me in the narrative of acting and cinema; I am motivated to continue carrying the torch with our community, telling our stories, shaping the depictions of Latinx people in media, and showing other young girls out there that this dream is possible and that their voices deserve to be heard.
What scholarship award(s) did you receive directly from SCA?
George Lucas Family Foundation Endowed Student Scholarship for Diversity
William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship
Patricia W. & John H. Mitchell Endowed Scholarship
What has been the impact of receiving a scholarship from SCA?
For a first-generation Latina like myself, these scholarships have been a blessing. Without them, I would not have been able to afford to attend this program, much less attain the necessary materials/equipment to thrive in this prime filmmaking institution. From the support these scholarships have given me, I have been able to focus on excelling in my academics, projects, and learning process rather than worrying about constantly working or how to pay off my tuition. I have been able to use funds to invest in vital equipment through this transition to virtual production so I can succeed academically and as a growing professional.
What activities or student organizations are you involved in outside of the classroom?
I am involved through the Latinx Graduate Student Association (LGSA), the Latinx Film and Media Association (LatiFAM), the Recreation Center and Fitness programs, and the Asian Pacific Cinema Association (APCA).
What has been your favorite class or project at SCA thus far?
Working on my final project for CTPR 507: Production has been my favorite work at SCA so far.
What is a meaningful experience you've had while at SCA?
Meeting my peers and being inspired by the caliber of work and talent I am surrounded with. We are really surrounded by the future of filmmaking here! I am excited to continue learning, not only from my professors, but from the stories and insight my peers bring to the table. I learn and gain so much just by being around them, reaching out, texting, emailing, and Zooming together. These are connections that will last a lifetime and I am grateful for the life that bring to their work and my own world.
What are your career goals after graduation?
I work to be an Actress/Director/Writer/Producer/Performer and continue making my films, acting in media and theatre, as well as looking for ways to push new technological frontiers within cinema and storytelling. I would love to work for a production company like Annapurna Studios for a couple of years and then transition into owning and running my own studio. I also hope to establish artistic outreach programs throughout Los Angeles, Southern California, and Latin America because I believe giving children proper access, mentorship, and development through the cinematic and performing arts could change lives and help heal our communities. I would also hope to win an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony in the future, to prove to our communities that if a small town Guatemalan girl like myself can do it, anything is possible!
What advice do you have for prospective students looking to apply to SCA?
I am a perfectionist, so sometimes my biggest obstacle is giving myself the freedom to try new things without knowing how definite or secure they will come out. I have applied for schools, scholarships, grants and been rejected multiple times. I have made projects and short films that were not successful in the slightest (and that will probably never see the light of day again). However, I learned so much from the process, what I did 'wrong,' what I can be doing better, and ultimately more about who I am as a creator and person. I've learned that I can 'fail' but that doesn't mean I am a failure. Having a mentality of seeing the best in every project and viewing rejection as redirection will put you one step ahead of the game and take you very far. Don't be afraid to try new things, you never know what you might discover!