Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT student semifinalist in film competition which aims to celebrate young Latinx filmmakers

Courtesy of Marlon Rubio

A UT student’s short film is a semifinalist in a film competition that uplifts young Latinx voices.

The Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network created ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Fest in 2021. Deputy executive assistant Cynthia Rivera said the initiative provides a platform for young filmmakers within the Latinx community to showcase their creativity and share their voice and vision through film. The winners will be announced on Oct. 16 at 6 p.m.

Each year they receive a few hundred submissions to narrow down before announcing the winners. The top three submissions win a cash prize ranging from $1,000 to $4,000.

Radio-television-film senior Marlon Rubio Smith is one of the 20 semi-finalists in the ¡Tu Cuentas! film festival.

“It does feel good whenever you get, ‘you won this award’ or ‘you’re an official selection,’” Rubio Smith said. “But really what I take away from the project is every time someone comes to me and is like, ‘I resonated with the story,’ because I felt that it was so specific to a student’s subgroup.”

In his film “I’m New,” Smith depicts the language barrier students face when they move to a foreign country. He said he wanted to make a movie based on his experience as an ESL student after immigrating to the U.S. in eighth grade.

“It was so personal because it was just me like showing the world something I struggled with,” he said. “I was doubting it, but the whole group and the professor were very encouraging.”

Rivera said they were looking to create inclusive opportunities for the younger Latinx community, so they decided to start a film festival.

Rivera said submissions must feature Latinx individuals in creative leadership roles, on or off camera, to be considered. Initially, the festival was planned as an in-person event but was made completely virtual after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now, the festival is still online and the short films are posted on its website. 

“We’re grossly underrepresented in film,” Rivera said. “We wanted to help people see more authentic stories about Latinos, created by Latinos.”

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