McDonald’s has named its three finalists for its Spotlight Dorado short film contest. The finalists are aspiring filmmakers Jazmin Aguilar, Jesus Celaya, and Lorena Russi.
Each of them will be awarded $75,000 to produce a short film. They will also receive mentorship from industry leaders, including actress Stephanie Beatriz (Encanto). In April, Beatriz told Remezcla that a program like Spotlight Dorado was designed to help “shepherd [a] new generation of Latino filmmakers into the professional world [and] get Latino voices into the spotlight.”
Now, Beatriz is looking forward to what the three finalists will do with the tools they need to bring their short films to life. “It’s been a long journey for Latino representation on and off-screen, but the creativity, passion, and top-notch quality of the three finalist short film narratives fill me with hope for the future,” Beatriz said in a statement.
Aguilar, Celaya, and Russi learned they had won the contest during a celebratory event in Los Angeles, where Beatriz gave them the good news.
The short film Aguilar will produce with her prize money is called Kid Ugly, a European-style Spaghetti Western combined with contemporary Shonen anime.
Celaya’s short film will be Lucha Noir, a noir piece driven by classic American comics and Mexico’s lucha libre wrestling culture.
Russi’s short film is called A History of Sitting in Waiting Rooms (Or Whatever Longer Title you Prefer), which is a semiautobiographical coming-of-age comedy that goes on a journey of self-discovery with a queer Latina and her Colombian immigrant parents, best friend, and a ghost from the Civil War.
As finalists, Aguilar, Celaya, and Russi are now in the running to become the grand-prize winner and get the opportunity to work with McDonald’s on future creative initiatives and campaigns. All three short films will debut in November on spotlightdorado.com. The grand-prize winner will be voted for by the public.