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The 'Spotlight Dorado' program will choose three Latino directors, who will be awarded a production budget of $75,000 each to build their stories from the ground up. Photo: Courtesy.
The 'Spotlight Dorado' program will choose three Latino directors, who will be awarded a production budget of $75,000 each to build their stories from the ground up. Photo: Courtesy.

Spotlight Dorado was created for Latino filmmakers

After a large call for proposals in 2022, the Spotlight Dorado grant fund is calling for young Latino directors ready to take their first steps in filmmaking.

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Today, Latinos make up nearly 20% of the U.S. population and are a driving force in countless industries, including media and entertainment. 

While Latinos are avid moviegoers (24%), their stories are often overlooked and currently make up only about 1% of those told by Hollywood. 

Bridging this gap is key to helping shift the narrative about the Latino experience in the U.S., and fostering new voices. With these numbers in mind, Spotlight Dorado was created by McDonald's in collaboration with Ben Lopez from the consulting firm L21 Consulting and the The Hispanic Heritage Foundation. 

All U.S.-based Latino writers, producers, directors, aspiring filmmakers or creatives with a great story to share are invited to submit their screenplays to the Spotlight Dorado short film contest at www.spotlightdorado.com for the chance to be selected as one of three finalists to be awarded $75,000 to produce their films. 

Submissions are due on April 21, 2023 and are free of charge regardless of age, experience, or professional background.

“We were blown away by the creativity and incredible quality of the short films we received from young filmmakers last year. There’s no shortage of Latino stories to be told, and we’re on the edge of our seats for new stories to come this year!” said Elizabeth Campbell,  Senior Director Cultural Engagement & Social Media Content, McDonald’s USA.

In 2022, the Golden Spotlight Evaluation Committee reviewed more than 100 entries. The jury, composed of renowned members of the entertainment industry, valued originality, creativity, direction, writing, cinematography, production value, and chose three finalists: the writer and director Jazmín Aguilar, Mexican-American writer and director Jesús Celaya and comedian, filmmaker and professional soccer player Lorena Russi.

The short film Lucha Noir, by Latino filmmaker Jesús Celaya, won the Spotlight Dorado contest. The film-noir piece is driven by classic American comics and Mexican wrestling culture. The short features a luchador and an otherworldly villain facing off in an epic battle fueled by the classic Luchador films, while exploring the dichotomy between good and evil.

Mentoring in 2023

Anthony Ramos, Grammy®-winning artist, Golden Globe®  and Emmy® nominated actor will take on a new role as a program mentor, joining a roster of film industry leaders including the award-winning writer, producer, director and actress, Gloria Calderón Kellett. Together, they will work to empower and guide three new Spotlight Dorado finalists as they go through the filmmaking process. 

“After more than a decade navigating my own career, I’ve seen firsthand how challenging it can be for creatives from underrepresented communities to get the support and resources needed to jumpstart their careers,” said Anthony Ramos, who will soon be seen starring in the next installment of Transformers: Rise of The Beasts

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