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HBO’s ongoing commitment to showcase, nurture and support emerging creatives was the driving force in launching the inaugural U.S. Latinx short film competition, in an effort to support culturally inclusive films and filmmakers that represent true American diversity. For the first time, HBO has partnered with the Official Latino Film and Arts Festival to select three films and exhibit them on HBO distribution platforms. Find out more about the winners of the HBO Latinx Short Film Competition — Pepito, The Serenade and Slipping Into Darkness — below.

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Filmakers LatinX
Pepito

EMAN ESFANDI (DIRECTOR): Raised in a household with an Ecuadoran mother and Iranian father, Esfandi seeks to share the truths of growing up among these different cultures to show how unique they are — and also how similiar we all can be.

ISAAC GARZA (WRITER):
Along with performing as a resident improsiver at an Austin comedy club, the Texas-born Garza writes and directs short films ranging in genre, from dark comedy to tense drama, that all carry heart.

Filmakers LatinX
The Serenade

ADELINA ANTHONY (DIRECTOR): A Two-Spirit Xicana Lesbiana, Anthony co-founded AdeRisa Productions in 2012, which has since produced several short films by LGBTQ+ people of color.

ERNESTO JAVIER MARTINEZ (WRITER): The award-winning queer Chicano/Puerto Rican writer and educator uses his work — both in art and academics — to explore how racially and sexually marginalized communities use literature and art to produce knowledge about their lives.

Filmakers LatinX
Slipping Into Darkness

ALEX FERRUFINO (DIRECTOR): After witnessing the murder of his friend at age 16, the Los Angeles native of Mexican and Honduran descent decided to put everything into telling stories that speak truth to the realities of his communities.

DAVID MANSANALEZ (WRITER): The writer started attending film school after an 18-month tour in Afghanistan, and now focuses on writing scripts to cope with his PTSD and bring an authentic reality to the screen. (Photos by Edwin Pagan)

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Behind the Scenes LatinX
BEHIND THE SCENES1:51
Pepito

“Being around your parents, you suddenly become a different person around them. I turn into that little boy they want and want to keep, so we explored that in an absurd sense.” —Isaac Garza, writer

Behind the Scenes LatinX
BEHIND THE SCENES1:48
The Serenade

“Imagine if we had been children who could love freely, knowing that our love is just as valid as any non-queer love that exists.” —Adelina Anthony, director

Behind the Scenes LatinX
BEHIND THE SCENES1:48
Slipping Into Darkness

“I come from a family of incarcerated men. And the bigger picture of the story with gun violence and all of that, all around, was generational incarceration that needs to be spoken on.” —David Mansanalez, writer

“Our stories can help change the world. Culturally, in any revolution, in any campaign, our arte is that arm that is helping to shift how people see us and feel us," The Serenade director Adelina Anthony says.

Learn more about the HBO Latinx Short Film Competition from the winners themselves, and hear their advice on how to turn ideas into reality.

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Behind the scenes of Pepito

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