So I Won: HBO Latino Best Short Film Award
This tap on the shoulder pushes me to embrace with even more eagerness my next challenge
Originally published at:
Published on LatinoLA: April 7, 2014
Cecilia Rojas: La Oveja Negra
Our Short film "Alta Exposici??n" won BEST HBO LATINO SHORT AWARD at the San Diego Latino Film Festival -- March 23 2014 -- Indelible memory for the rest of my days, amen. I've been receiving lots of congratulating messages from good old friends as well as from people I don't know. And it feels weird. Like a stupid pressure to be up to the standards of those lovely people who look up to me now. Some tell me that I should try to get some press or TV coverage, some even tell to look for another agent, and they might be right, but that's not why I do what I do.
Although winning an award feels incredibly gratifying, I don't do my strenuous and bankrupting shorts for recognition. I do them because I would fade otherwise. I do it because I cannot let die my inner child. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a filmmaker and Chaplin has to do a lot with it. The first time I was bewitched by the alchemy that turns silver and plastic into dreams, was when I was 8 years old and I saw for the very first time "The Kid".
As an eternal outsider, for me literature and cinema became the perfect vessels to escape reality, and I desperately wanted to be part of those lunatics that are capable to inspire, elevate, and touch people offering great understanding of the human heart. So I went on and studied film-making.
In order to prepare for the contest to get into the cinema school of my dreams, the "CUEC", I would drive every Thursday about 20 miles to go to the "SOGEM", (General Society of Mexican Writers) where I could watch the Mexican, French, Italian and American classics that I could not rent anywhere else. They had this well-kept secret videotheque collection on the top floor of their private library. They would give me some fat headphones, 2 fat BETA or VHS tapes, and let me stay for 4 hours on a mini-booth with no ventilation. I couldn't care less. At the time I was 17, and that little booth was my magic carpet.
I finally got into the film school after 7 rounds of elimination testsÔÇªand dropped out. Yep! First because I was also selected to become a flight attendant and at 18 I wanted to travel the world, and second, because I had some huge differences with some of the teachers. Fast forward until 21. I fell in love and moved to Europe, where I went on and studied Literature at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the UMA in Malaga. I devoured tons and tons of novels until I ventured myself and wrote one. Fast forward to me moving to USA, where after attending multiple workshops and UCLA extension, I wrote my 1st screenplay.
Literature and Cinema invigorate our imaginations, broaden our minds, humble our hearts and stir our souls. To me, there is nothing more exhilarating than being able to touch someone through the power of STORY telling. And after tasting the incomparable elixir of receiving heart felt notes from my readers and seating in the back of a dark movie theater and hearing the audience react to my work, I tell myself that it was all worth it.
It was a bumpy non-paid road, full of sleepless nights, self-doubt, deceptions, and long hours working on something that nobody, absolutely nobody asked for. But it's like giving birth: Once the baby is born, we forget all the labor pain. I'm glad I made 12 vlogs about what I learned producing this short because they are a fresh reminder of all that I did for me to never forget, and who knows, maybe to inspire one or two dreamers with nothing but their imagination and a computer.
This award means all the more because I kind of wore several hats, (just as my most admired filmmakers), and I know, it is just a short, I know, I know, but I gave it all I had.
For all those doubting out there, I want you to know that when you step out of your comfort zone and commit, the resources, the opportunities, and most importantly, the right people come. Get out of your own way, shift the view that you have of yourself on the inside and don't play small game. Life is too shortÔÇª
So I won. It means the world to me. It means that somehow, somewhere, the story I crafted touched someone. It represents a validation for me to stay true to my passion, because the moment I heard I had won, that moment when I fell on my knees and started laughing and crying at the same time, was worth all the years that it took me to get here. And I know I'm quite far from getting "THERE", but I'm fine with it, in fact I don't want to be there yet. This tap on the shoulder pushes me to embrace with even more eagerness my next challenge while enjoying "the rapture of being forever incomplete".
"Alta Exposici??n" on IMDB
Cecilia Robles is a writer, actress, director, producer, editor and published author.