Day by day, the impressive growth of the seventh art is more assimilated in our state, where Hollywood greats like Martin Scorsese and Sylvester Stallone choose Oklahoma as their set.

Film festivals like “Sundance Film Festival” have also chosen Oklahoma as an addition to being able to reproduce through screens the successful works of art that filmmakers create around the world.

Oklahoma Cine Latino is looking precisely to allow Latino filmmakers to tell their stories.

“Nearly 30 short films, documentaries, fiction films, and apart from that, we had a short film made by our students from the film institute workshops,” Rogelio Almeida, creator of Oklahoma Latino Cinema, told the Pioneer.

Rogelio Almeida is a professor at the University of Central Oklahoma who is also part of the Latino film scene in Oklahoma.

Almeida oversaw the eighth edition of this film festival, which took place in two locations in the heart of the Hispanic community, The Yale Theater and The Capitol Hill Metropolitan Library, both in the Capitol Hill district. The presentations lasted three days, April 22, 23 and 24, giving way to Latin art.

Oklahoma Cine Latino also hosted a multiple-week film institute for students around the metro to learn film techniques. With the help of Almeida and Victor Caballero, students collaborated on a short film. 

 “We’ve been doing The Youth Film Institute for six years now. We had close to 20 students, who around four weekends wrote their script, storyboard, acted, filmed, produced and directed this short film,” said Almeida. 

The various students had the chance to present their short film on a projector, like in a movie theater, and had the opportunity to pose on a red carpet.

“OK Cine Latino has been going on for eight years now, and I think the increase has been substantial. The festival has grown in such a way that we now have international films,” Almeida said. 

Almeida adds that this year there was the presence of filmmakers from all over the world

“Spain, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador… so we have created a great platform for our filmmakers, who can come to present these works of art that they have created,” Almeida said.

All this to give the Latino population in Oklahoma, almost 11% of the total population in Oklahoma, the opportunity to have a film festival tailored for them.

“So there’s a lot of actual film festivals here, but there’s not anything quite like Oklahoma Cine Latino because this caters to Latino filmmakers, which aren’t a lot of in the world,” said OCCC student Cruz Pulido.

Cruz Pulido studies Digital Cinema at Oklahoma City Community College, attends Metro Tech, and works for Telemundo Oklahoma. His love for movies has led him to work on various sets. Now, with the opportunity of Oklahoma Cine Latino, he has collaborated with peers from The Film Institute and made connections with foreign filmmakers.

Before attending the Oklahoma Cine Latino event, I asked him what it meant to him to be able to have this event here in Oklahoma.

“I’ve seen some of the posters and some of the people that are going to be here, and I am actually really excited to see what they have in store because just in the movie poster alone, I can see that it’s going to be a Latino story. I think it will be really interesting the way they portray and see things compared to my point of view, of like being here in Oklahoma or being raised by immigrant parents,” Pulido enthused.

“I feel that representation is vital, in cinema, in the media. So, I think that’s where we have to start and try to have this diversity and have these opportunities and platforms. Our festival has this huge platform for Latino filmmakers,” said Almeida, about the importance of Latino representation in the film industry.

And without a doubt, these efforts will go a long way since Latinos seem to be growing in these industries.

“In the future, I want to submit my own film into it (Ok Cine Latino) because I feel like it will be, it would be really cool to be a student and then come back as a filmmaker and be able to, like present myself in a different way than what I started out as,” Cruz said.

The future is bright for Latino filmmakers.

Cruz Pulido and his family attending the red carpet event.
Students of the Cine Latino Film Institute 
Movie Poster of a Film featured in Oklahoma Cine Latino 

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