LOS ANGELES -- Ghetto Film School is an organization that develops and equips students for top universities and careers in creative industries. And for the first time ever, Disney Entertainment worked with the nonprofit to co-create on-air and digital content that celebrates Hispanic and Latin American stories as seen and told through the vision of young aspiring filmmakers.
This year's filmmakers are Alyse Arteaga, Tommy Espinal, Kian Cloma and Alejandro Enrique. Each of them have different fields they wish to pursue.
Alyse Arteaga is interested in directing.
"So almost every week, or a couple times a month, I was in the theater watching the latest movies," said Arteaga. "I think being present in a dark room and being told a story really excited me and it made me feel a lot of emotions. And that's what I wanted to do for other people. To compel them with words and with visuals."
Tommy Espinal has a passion for cinematography.
"I think what drew me to storytelling was something that was always rooted in friendship," said Espinal. "Me and my closest friend growing up named Jeffrey were always joining as kids. He's always had much more talented than I was when it came to illustration. But he asked me one day to write a story inspired by one of his own illustrations."
Kian Cloma wants to be a producer.
"I think what inspired me to become a storyteller was my family," said Cloma. "I come from a family who loves to talk a lot. I think hearing stories being told countless times only makes me feel like there's a lot of power to be able to tell a story."
And Alejandro Enrique is on the editor path.
"I was kind of the jester and the jokester," said Enrique. "I could be someone that could be the person to make others laugh. And having that kind of attention showed me that storytelling brings people together."
The Ghetto Film School students are proud to showcase their love for their community, culture and families.
"There's something very important when it comes to tapping into the stories of our past.," said Espinal. "I believe that our past is our connection to not just our present moment. But what's to come next in our lives."
Ayala adds, "No one has seen the world through your eyes. And I think that's a really crucial and important truth to hold."
The filmmakers all agree that Latino stories need to be told year-round.
"Things are happening all year round," Cloma said. "So the more specific you are with your story, the more you get into the granular details, the more people can relate to it worldwide."
From the Walt Disney Studios shaping and positively influencing their lives to drawing inspiration from their upbringing, the students naturally implement this into their storytelling.
"All art has the ability to impact or inspire," said Espinal. "I've really believed that we have a responsibility as artists, to not only represent ourselves in our community, but to represent future generations of artists. As long as we're able to stay connected to our lineage and our ancestry, and hold on with a lot of pride. There's no limit to what our stories can be."
Since 2016, Disney has been proud to support to Ghetto Film School. Following the campaign, Disney Entertainment Television will continue to provide mentorship to these filmmakers.
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