Graduating, Thesis Film, and the 2018 Sundance Screenwriters Lab

– August, 17th, 2017

Graduating from a four-year university at the age of 35 is no easy task but I have always been a slow learner. Add to that the fact that I was the first person in my family to do so and that means the road was curvy, narrow, and uphill. Plus, I’m a first generation Latinx and I went to film school. You know the place where kids go to spend their parent’s money and “try to make it” but end up working as bartenders, bankers, or worse—teachers? Interestingly enough, I put myself through college and at certain points in my life I’ve had each of those careers. I went to school for fiction filmmaking but classes were impacted and not a lot of people wanted to hang out with the old guy so, crews were hard to come by. As an older student I ended up connecting more with the grad students and professors and though it may not have added to my popularity in college, it added to my personal friend group and my cabinet of mentors. I’m now a graduate of film school and I’ve landed a job as an Editor–which is not the norm.

Sundance email

Recently, a feature-length script I wrote made it to the second round of the 2018 January Sundance Screenwriters Lab and my undergraduate thesis film won me a funding award from the Annenberg and Caucus foundations. So, I made the hard decision to move from Oakland to work remotely in the Pacific Northwest and develop my first feature-length project. Low rent stretches the funds better since I don’t have to pay tech-bubble money but it also took me away from my friend-family which is depressing. I’m using the money I won to finalize my Short Doc and submit it to film festivals. I am also submitting my screenplay for fellowships, labs, and funding. I’m crossing my fingers but not expecting to get into anything since the festival/fellowship/lab market is saturated with better talent and better-connected filmmakers. Here’s to the next phase of my journey. Wish me luck.