8 of the Best Latinx Short Films from 2023

Short films like "Chica de Fábrica" starring Yalitza Aparicio center Latinx characters and stories

Latinx short films 2023

Photo: Instagram/@esmeraldashortfilm/@selmajcamx/@melashortfilm

Short films often pack a big and important message in a short amount of time. Despite a short running time, short films have everything they need to deliver promising and compelling storytelling to audiences. As shown by the short films here, with great direction, casting, and writing, short films have the power to move audiences and make them feel seen through the storylines and themes explored. Short films like For Rosa (2020), about the Madrigal Ten, a group of Mexican American women who were sterilized without informed consent, or through coercion at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in the 1970s, make an impact with succinct storytelling. From quirky crime-solving in Esmeralda to seeing a mother’s aspirations come to a head in Mela, these short films explore diverse Latinx narratives that share experiences that are familiar to us as well as some that are more out-of-the-box. Here are eight Latinx short films made by and for Latinxs from this year’s film festivals to take a closer look at and celebrate.

Chica de Fábrica (Sweatshop Girl)

The film, Chica de Fábrica (Sweatshop Girl), stars Academy Award-nominated actress Yalitza Aparicio (Roma, La Gran Seducción) as Inés, a seamstress at a sweatshop whose recent pregnancy has her doing everything she can to keep it hidden from her workplace. This is director Selma Cervantes’s second short, her first being Manchester Acatitla, which was nominated for Best Short Film by the Mexican Academy of Motion Picture Arts. Sweatshop Girl (Chica de Fábrica) premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.


This 16-minute short follows its titular character Consuelo who has been living in solitude and then she meets her idol, classical Mexican singer Manuel Bravo. The film made its way to the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF)  as well as other film festivals such as the Baja California International Film Festival. Director and Tijuana local, José Luis Ruiz has also worked on other short films such as Camino a Delicias (2021) and A-mors (2022) and is working toward his first feature film.

Inés Unfortunately

Inés Unfortunately follows a heartbroken, 16-year-old Inés as she plans to end her life but is interrupted by the ghost of her Cuban neighbor. This short is directed by Cuban-Puerto Rican Anna Salinas who has numerous credits under her belt. As a television writer and filmmaker she has written for series like Netflix’s Big Mouth and Showtime’s Loot, as well as being the creator of her own webcomic “Bad Comix” which explores her struggles with mental health.


With the backdrop of Spanish Harlem, Mela follows its titular character as she navigates being a mother and aspiring to be a reggaeton dancer. The film follows her after an argument with her child’s teacher which leads to her spending the day with her daughter as she also tries her best to make it to an important audition. The film’s director, Puerto Rican filmmaker Kristian Mercado Figueroa, has directed a number of films and ads including Bad Bunny’s 2021 Corona ad and Dominican/Puerto-Rican comedian Aida Rodriguez’s comedy special “Aida Rodriguez: Fighting Words”.

Strange World

Strange World (Un mundo raro) by Mexican director ​​Eugenia Llaguno follows Amira, a sex worker who is assaulted by one of her clients. When she visits a bar to forget what happened that night, she meets Fello, a mariachi from the neighborhood, and sings one of her favorite songs with him. Among tequilas and songs, she meets a lonely man contemplating ending his life and connects with him in more ways than one. This short was awarded Best Short Film at the Diosas de Plata.


This quirky short film stars Annie Gonzalez (Gentefied, Flamin’ Hot) and includes a performance from Julio Macias known for playing “Spooky” on Netflix’s On My Block. Esmeralda, the film’s titular character, works as a dry cleaner, investigating an arson case involving a burnt down church. She suspects one of her three clients—local realtor Susan Verde, Pastor Roland, and land man John Guerra—is the culprit and goes one by one to find the truth. The film’s director Sabrina Ehlert was previously one of the producers of the acclaimed short For Rosa.


A collaboration between U.S. Bank and filmmaker Rudy Valdez, Translators (Traductores) tells the story of Densel, Harye, and Virginia who represent the experiences of millions of children in immigrant households in the United States. The film explores their role as the only English speakers in their family—a role many young Latinxs have taken across generations—as they navigate translating documents and important conversations for their parents that often deal with more adult topics when they are only children. 


Written and directed by Carolina Costa, Ecstasy is a mystical sci-fi short film that centers a mausoleum where nuns are plagued by the presence of a black hole. The film stars Natalia Solián (Familia, Huesera: The Bone Woman) and Mabel Cadena who has made waves recently with her role as Namora in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and previously in Netflix’s Dance of the 41. The short had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this year and went on to screen at Outfest LA and the Museum of Modern Art.

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