The work of Latinx creatives in Hollywood is worth celebrating year-round and here at HipLatina, we are highlighting some short films that center narratives of the Latinx community. As we’ve seen a rise in Latinx representation in mainstream media with major films and TV shows such as Encanto and With Love, it’s also important to note the work put into films that are not as well known. Their contributions and their efforts are also giving a lot of visibility to Latinx folks in another aspect of the film industry. For Rosa is inspired by the the Madrigal 10, Mexican American women who were sterilized without their consent and Tatiana Huezo’s Ausencias centers on the effects of disappearances in Mexico and Central America. Read on to learn more about these eight Latinx shorts films you need to add to your watchlist.
For Rosa by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
For Rosa is a recent film inspired by the Madrigal Ten, who were a group of Latinas subjugated to sterilizations without their consent during the 1970s. The Madrigal Ten went on to file a civil rights class action lawsuit against Dr. Quilligan who allegedly targeted Latinas who were not not fluent in English. The film centers on Eva (Melinna Bobadilla) who was forced to undergo sterilization after going into labor. The film is noteworthy for exposing how discrimination and racism can surface in public health and how difficult it is to gain support or justice yet they still unite to fight against it.
For Rosa is available on HBO Max.
Stop by Reinaldo Marcus Green
Before directing King Richard Reinaldo Marcus Green brought to us his Sundance short film Stop. The nine-minute film highlights the experience of racial profiling as Xavier is stopped by the police on his way home from baseball practice. The film addresses profiling and stop-and-frisk practices enforced by police officers against Black and Brown youth but also the toll it can have on those who experience it.
Stop is available on Youtube.
Ausencias by Tatiana Huezo
Ausencias tells the story of Lulú, a woman whose husband and son disappeared on their way to the airport in Mexico. The film follows her search for her loved ones in the hopes of finding them alive.The film was released in 2015 but the subject matter is still extremely relevant to what is currently going on in Mexico six years later. Enforced disappearances in Mexico is a crisis that, as reported by the United Nations, has had 94,000 people who have disappeared as of November 11, 2021.
Ode to Pablo by Adelina Anthony
Xicana lesbian director Adelina Anthony gives visibility to the life of a queer, deaf Latino through her short film Ode to Pablo. Pablo and another boy strike up a connection through a game of basketball. In an industry where films and television still cast hearing actors in deaf roles, the casting of a non-actor, deaf Latino as the title character makes it remarkable by staying grounded in having deaf people play deaf roles.
Ode to Pablo is available on Vimeo.
Luminaris by Juan Pablo Zaramella
The short film spans the day of its protagonist, played by Gustavo Cornillón, in a world dominated by light. Wherever he goes the light guides him, whether it’s the sun or at work as he manufactures light bulbs. The film is extraordinary with its use of pixilation as a means to bring together the live actors and inanimate objects in this kind of stop-action film. Luminaris stands out not just for its visual appeal but its critical acclaim with 324 awards in international film festivals and even being shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Luminaris is available on YouTube.
Café Paraíso by Alonso Ruizpalacios
Café Paraíso stars Tenoch Huerta, who has recently been cast in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and takes place in an East LA restaurant during rush hour as one of the Mexican immigrant workers plans his resignation. The film highlights the mistreatment of immigrants in workplaces in the U.S. and emphasizes the conflict between wanting to advocate for oneself and their rights and also wanting to keep a job for their livelihood.
Café Paraíso is available on YouTube.
Rizo by Jeanette Dilone
Jeanette Dilone’s Rizo focuses on an Afro-Latina actress struggling with her identity as she tries to make it in Hollywood. She goes through an audition day which forces her to contemplate her Latinidad in the eyes of Hollywood. Rizo has been recognized in the festival circuit from the Santa Fe Film Festival to the HBO Latinx Short Film Competition for which it was one of three winning films.
Rizo is available on HBOMax.
Life Between Borders: Black Migrants in Mexico by Ebony Bailey
This short film documentary explores Black migration through the lens of Haitians and Africans at the border and in Mexico City. While addressing Black migration, the documentary also tackles Afro-Mexican/Latinx identity, Haitians seeking entry to the U.S., and the presence of Africans in Mexico throughout centuries.
Life Between Borders: Black Migrants in Mexico is available on Vimeo.