Mexican director Guillermo del Toro isn’t taking a moment to rest in light of his two Academy Award wins last week, including receiving Best Director and Best Picture for his fantasy romance The Shape of Water. This week he’s been in his hometown for the Guadalajara International Film Festival, giving a set of master classes to aspiring filmmakers, christening a new theater in his name, and setting up a scholarship to pay it all forward.
The Jenkins-Del Toro International Film Scholarship is set to offer $60,000 per year to up-and-coming Mexican filmmakers interested in furthering their craft. Recipients of the award will receive the opportunity to study abroad at a reputable film institution for four years (with tuition, travel, books, and housing included) in the hopes of creating future masterpieces. For Del Toro this is a concept close to his heart. He says, “If we change a life, if we change a history, we change a generation.” The Jenkins-Del Toro Scholarship will be given out every year at the Guadalajara International Film Festival by a jury managed by the director himself. It’s the second aid program he’s developed for film students, after announcing an animation scholarship at last year’s Morelia Film Festival.
This new scholarship continues to cement del Toro as one of the most forward-thinking directors out there. Del Toro has been vocal about The Shape of Water’s message during this fraught political climate, presenting the movie as a story blending our past with hope for the future. With three Best Director winners being Mexican – Del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro G. Iñárritu – it’s just common sense to start fostering international filmmakers before they hit film school. It’ll be refreshing to watch how the scholarship grows and develops.