Cine-Cardinals: Six Students Selected for Film Festival Screenings

June 16, 2023

Six students from the University of the Incarnate Word have been selected for film festival screenings, an honor for each of them and for UIW’s young film program.

Jake Rogers' first film, Imperfection, has been nominated for Best Super Short Film at the Student World Impact Film Festival (SWIFF), an online festival taking place June 18-25, 2023. The film sheds light on the struggles of non-native English-speaking students. Alyssa Muñoz's film, Yaretzi, selected for screening at San Antonio’s 44th annual CineFestival, explores the experiences of first-generation Mexican American college students and the imposter syndrome they must navigate and overcome. Finally, Evelyn Torres, D'angelina Clay, and Layla Mireles's film, Evangeline, highlights the impact of bullying on mental health and has also been selected for screening at CineFestival. The film was also nominated for a Lone Star EMMY Student Production Award.

“The UIW Film concentration has a strong emphasis on both the storytelling and the production process,” shared Theresa Coronado, media production instructor in UIW’s School of Media and Design. “Students study screenwriting structures and learn to incorporate their own voice through storytelling. The concentration is also very heavy in hands-on instruction. We use top of the line, industry standard equipment. Students are trained on cinema cameras, the latest lights, and a wide range of professional accessories that allows them to bring their art to life.”

It's the program’s rigorous curriculum and hands-on learning opportunities that set the students on the path to success in being selected for international film festivals and more.

“I made the film (Yaretzi) in Producing & Directing Seminar in the spring of 2022,” explained Muñoz. “It was one of the most rewarding hands-on learning experiences that I got in my time at UIW.”

The three Evangeline filmmakers echoed this sentiment, sharing that had it not been for the classes taken at UIW, this moment may not have been possible.

“Never did we imagine that our film would be seen by others than our peers,” they shared. “This was just a class assignment at first, and now it’s a totally different journey. Our program here at UIW is filled with so many talented students and we are so proud to be a part of it.”

For each of the students, acceptance into the festivals is not only a prestigious accolade, but an opportunity to share a poignant message close to their hearts with a wide audience.

“I hope everyone watching the film sees that we all experience struggle, especially students, and that there are obstacles that go overlooked that many people may take for granted, such as speaking English,” Rogers explained about Imperfection. “For many of us, it’s second nature but a significant obstacle for others … I wanted to try and shed light on that.”

The film Yaretzi also highlights the struggles of minority students, but with an added emphasis on how their families can support them. 

“My family has been my biggest supporters though all my endeavors and I could not have persevered through all the challenges I’ve faced if it hadn’t been for them being right there with me,” said Muñoz. “That’s something I think will resonate with a lot of people, especially the Latino community, as we center our family and heritage in everything we do and work hard to make our families proud.”

As for Torres, Clay and Mireles, they hope that in the male-dominated film industry, their work will inspire other women filmmakers to continue making their art, and women interested in pursuing film to make the leap.

“Very little do we see women in the spotlight of filmmaking, and for us to have been selected is such a triumph,” they reflected.

For all six of the student filmmakers, their journeys are just beginning, with each sharing their hopes to continue the art and work they love well into the future. Don’t miss the chance to view the beginnings of their film careers at the links below.

Screen Imperfection

Learn more about CineFestival