Fifteen students and alumni had the opportunity to visit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Linwood Dunn Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 14 for the annual InFocus: LatinX & Hispanic Cinema Film Festival. The event celebrated international filmmakers and their films with screenings and panel Q&A’s. The NewFilmmakers LA organization has done an amazing job at bringing together underrepresented and unknown filmmakers throughout their monthly festivals, and Saturday’s event was much bigger.

student in front of statue

Michael Ochoa

Students and alumni were treated to panels that included industry professionals from Disney, Skydance, Warner Bros., Focus Features, as well as agencies like UTA and Gersh among many others. The screenings also gave guests a deep dive into the cultures and lives of many of the filmmakers. “I really enjoyed the film ‘We Vanish’,” said Milani Cruz, a current junior in Film Production. “We Vanish” is the story of one case of femicide (violent murders of women) that occurred in a small town in Mexico, directed by Astrid Dominguez.

Current sophomore in Broadcast Journalism and Documentary Laurenz Dodge says, “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the event on Saturday. It was an extremely valuable experience for multiple reasons. Knowing that spaces like this exist where important issues are highlighted and emerging voices in the industry are uplifted, is encouraging.”

“This was probably one of the best events I have gone to, related to film because the speakers were amazing and friendly. They truly care about young filmmakers and want us to succeed,” said Michael Ochoa, a Film Production major. And Carlota Crespo added that she enjoyed, “being able to meet people that worked in big studios and having one-on-one conversations with them. They were super accessible and provided a lot of useful information.”

A huge THANK YOU to Andrew Acedo and Larry Laboe of NFMLA for inviting Chapman University and providing such a memorable evening.