HITN unveils winners of its ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Fest

While Puerto Rican native Paloma Sierra's "I Am Soil Breaking Off" won a $5000 prices, Yessenia Sanchez's "Doble Cultura" received a $2,000 scholarship, among various other recognitions.


HITN-TV's monthl-long virtual festival, "¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Fest," presented during Hispanic Heritage Month and launched by HITN-TV to celebrate and support emerging Latinx filmmakers, announced this year’s award-winning films.“Through the ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Fest, we’ve been able to create opportunities and connections for a host of bright and promising young filmmakers and artists,” said Luis Alejandro Molina, ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Fest Director. 

“I Am Soil Breaking Off,” produced and directed by Paloma Sierra, a Puerto Rican writer, educator, and curator from San Juan, Puerto Rico, won the festival’s $5000 grand prize. The short film based on a poem written by Sierra shares a metaphor about national identity and migration presented through a mangrove seed and its journey through the ocean. Sierra’s work combines music, lyricism, and translation; and often centers on the Hispanic population in the United States.

“Doble Cultura,” chosen as the student prize winner, is directed by 22-year-old Chicana filmmaker from Windsor, California, Yessenia Sanchez, who received a $2,000 scholarship. This film centers on Marisol, a 12-year-old serving as a translator for her family because of her status as the sole English speaker in her household. It highlights the responsibility and psychological impact endured by children who are forced into adult spaces to mediate for their family members.

According to Sanchez, her film is intended to create greater awareness regarding the marginalization of disabled working-class immigrants. “Our young Latinx creators have lived a diverse set of experiences and developed unique viewpoints on what it means to grow up, live, and work in American culture,” said Lina Sands, Director of Marketing at HITN. “We want those experiences and their voices to be represented in film and shared across the country to empower and inspire other Latinx people – students and adults alike – and to effect broader change across society. That’s why we’re delighted to provide these talented creators with the opportunity to share their work through HITN’s multiple platforms.”

In addition to the two winning films selected by the festival’s judges, “Nuestro Rostro,” directed by Damaris Calderon, was the public’s favorite, receiving the Voters’ Choice Award. The winner of My Pandemic Year was Amanda Hunter, a film student from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, who participated in the Cine Youth Fest Young Filmmakers Conference. Other titles that received recognition in the form of an Honorable Mention Award include “The Williamsburg Italian Feast” by Erica Star Domena; “Hirviendo” by Wendy Medina Herrera; “Miracle of Love” by Jose Vera; “It Happened in East L.A.” by Victor R. Aguilar; “Señora Océano” by Omar De Leon; “Pandemates” by Devin Redmond; “Amor Encerrado” by Nory Gonzalez and “Oda a Las Frijoles/Ode to the Beans” by Karolina Esqueda.

'Through the ¡Tú Cuentas!' Cine Youth Fest, we’ve been able to create opportunities and connections for a host of bright and promising young filmmakers and artists.” Luis Alejandro Molina Director, ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Fest