Past Recipients Student Testimonials  

I grew up in South Gate, California, a low-income working class community in south east Los Angeles. My parents worked hard. I did my school work and watched a lot of TV. Somehow in those early years I decided I wanted to be an actor. I applied and was accepted to Van Nuys High School Magnet, they had a performing arts program, where I could take some drama courses.

In my short-lived stint as an actor, the majority of my auditions were for stereotypical characters or negative portrayals of Latinos. To add insult to injury, when I inquired about auditioning for Spanish-language soap operas, I was told that my complexion was too dark for the programs on their networks. I soon gave up commercial acting, finished high school, and began my college studies.

Bothered by my negative experience in Hollywood, I studied Film as Social Action as an independent major at UCLA. I immersed myself in courses that studied films from a sociological perspective. I learned the profound effect film has on society and decided I was going to return to Hollywood, but now as a filmmaker.

I chose the university as the training ground for my development as a filmmaker because I recognized that UCLA held open the possibility of incorporating one's community into their work. During my years at UCLA, I have witnessed and been part of many artistic projects that allow for a dialogue to occur between community and university. I am determined to carry on this experience into my professional career in the film industry.

Now, my community has expanded, it includes actors, cinematographers, designers, editors, and a variety of other talented artists that come together to form a community on the set and in the cutting rooms.

Through a long process of education, apprenticeships, and life experiences, I have learned how to find the essence of my subjects and I have gathered the skills necessary to tell their stories. What once began as a negative reaction to the realities of an industry has developed into an expression of love through art. I believe that my films will exemplify that in content, image, and sound.

©2016 The Caucus Foundation. All Rights Reserved.