We Honor Our Culture Through
The Beauty We Create
“I don’t want anyone to feel abandoned, scared or question their identity because they can’t identify themselves on screen. Hopefully those stories will erase the stereotypes and misconceptions of Latinos and Hispanics that we [see in the U.S.] today,” shared Martha.
NAVIGATING THE INDUSTRY AS A FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENT
Filling out college applications and moving away from home isn’t easy as a first-generation college student. First-generation students often face imposter-syndrome, don’t bring up their struggles in college to their parents and don’t ask for help as often because they were raised to push forward on their own. While it hasn’t been easy to navigate college and the film industry as a first-generation college student, Martha gives credit to her department, mentors and fellow filmmakers for helping her persevere. While still a college student, Martha has already accomplished so much for herself, the Latino community, her film department, increased representation for Latino culture on film and helped fight the stigma around the LGBTQIA+ community.
EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LATINO ACTORS AND CHARACTERS
Martha met her co-director Jonathan Sotelo in her screenwriting class, where she immediately bonded over his film that details a character’s coming out story. Martha knew she had to open his story up to the Latino audience and worked with Jonathan to translate and create, Chips and Salsa, which tells the coming out story of Joaquin, a Mexican-American, who comes out to their family before Christmas dinner. For Martha, Chips and Salsa was more than just a coming out story, it is one of the few films that showcases LGBTQIA+ representation in a Latino household. The film won the Best Spanish Language Short category at AT&T’s Film Awards and opened the door for Martha to attend a summer bridge program at the University of Southern California, one of her dream schools and top choice for her master’s program.
WHAT SHE HOPES FOR THE FUTURE
Martha’s biggest advice for others is to be true to yourself, find mentors who believe in you and help you move forward. It only takes one person to make a change. The next time someone looks up at the screen, Martha hopes they’ll see more people who look like them.