The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

Film Through My Lens

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My love of film began when I was in the fifth grade. My school had an afterschool club, that gave me the opportunity to explore my interests. Living in a poor neighborhood in Austin you were never able to see anybody playing lacrosse, having a career in robotics or film but this is what the after school program strived to change. They had a program through the Austin Film School where we were able to make a short film about anything we wanted. The teachers were both female filmmakers who taught us the basics of how to tell a story through a camera, as much as she could to 5th graders. Film was never something I thought could be a career because I never saw it. Whenever we started with our first project I instantly fell in love with film. 

hat moment made me realize that film was going to be something I would do in my future. I think it felt weird that I wanted to pursue film because I wasn’t doing something my parents would’ve liked me to do. In immigrant families it’s almost taboo if your kid wants to pursue a career in the arts. Parents think it’s not a career with money. This is something I faced with my dad growing up, he would always try to categorize me wanting to be in film like wanting to go into journalism. That being a more cemented job where you could get some kind of money. This comes from his machista roots. I could never blame him though, he didn’t want his daughter to struggle as much as they were. 

My mom had a different perspective on my dream, she always encouraged me and would go to my small short film screenings. Even if it was to only see a small three minute film that was an hour away. She always looked for free programs that would give me the chance to learn different skills like sewing, photography, or graphic design which were all things my mom introduced me to by putting me in these programs. Not having the money would not stop my mom from being able to succeed. 

This is the mentality that has shaped me growing up. When it came time to choose our pathways in eight grade I already knew what I was going to choose. I was so insistent  on getting my first choice which was media tech. When I got in, I was so happy this was just a step closer to my future. Being in Media Tech gave me the opportunity to further my knowledge about filmmaking, learn how to edit on different software and learning the different terminology needed in the film industry. 

The most recent video that I’ve made which I’m proud of is the one I was able to make at my internship with the Alamo Drafthouse. This is just a small video essay that I chose to make as an intro video to the film Roma that had recently come out that year. This video focused on Lantinx directors and putting a spotlight on them. Through my experiences growing up I know that this is not just something I want to do because it’s my passion but noticing that there needs to be more P.O.C on screen and me wanting to be able to help with that. 

Link to find the video I made during my internship: https://vimeo.com/317496478

Link to find the video I made during 5th grade: https://youtu.be/AfnqP7hBvT0

As most kids at 6 years old were starting first grade, Ximena Sifuentes-Chavez was migrating from Mexico to the United States. Transitioning from “Feliz cumpleaños” to “happy birthdays” was different for Ximena and lead her to step out of her comfort zone and join a film club in elementary school. Carrying film with her through middle school and into high school, she knew the pathway for her was Media Technology. Creating films and being involved in cinematography is a future goal for Ximena Sifuentes...but don’t think that is the only thing she has in mind. Junior, Ximena has an internship working at a production company and has been working since the start of summer 2018. Ximena is looking forward to giving voices to those who usually don't have one this upcoming year, as a staff writer for the Polaris Press newspaper.

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