Last year, we introduced you to eight incredible Latino filmmakers on the rise in Season 1 of the mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program. These visionaries teamed up with mitú and Walmart to write, prep, direct, and edit one-minute short films over the course of six weeks. In the year since their short films premiered in Los Angeles, our star filmmakers have grown substantially in their careers.

As we kick off Season 2 of the mentorship program, we’ve got some catching up to do with our Season 1 filmmakers. Today, we’re talking with two military veterans-turned-filmmakers. Carmen Colado overcame personal and familial hurdles while working on her dream to become a screenwriter. Ernest Govea is a film student at Chapman University whose goal is to highlight stories from his communities.

Carmen Colado

Dallas-based filmmaker Carmen Colado got her first creative break into Hollywood through her mentorship. She debuted her short film “Ya Queremos Pastel” last year. That ‘yes’ changed the military veteran’s life forever, from achieving financial stability to taking her career dreams seriously. She overcame hopelessness and mental health challenges for her next mission: getting her stories on the silver screen.

She calls the mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program “the most life-affirming experience” she’s ever had. “I’ll compare it to winning the lottery, because I had been gambling with my life as a starving artist, betting on myself for a long time with nothing to show for it until I was given the chance to create a film,” Colado continued.

Today, Colado is writing a new screenplay inspired by herself and her mother, who immigrated to the United States from Honduras in the early 90s. Since 2019, she’s been her mom’s primary caregiver, sticking by her side through numerous hospital stays in 2021. Colado’s project will explore both of these timelines. She hopes that it can make a socio-political difference in today’s culture.

“Everyday heroes come from all walks of life, but my source material [is] immigrants,” said Colado. “Immigrants deal with survival in the most primitive sense, often dealing with the realities of life and death, and so [they] offer perspective to those privileged enough to be generations removed from suffering for survival.”

While Colado’s mother doesn’t speak English, they watch movies together in English all the time. Even if there aren’t Spanish subtitles or audio, her mom is always engaged and invested in the emotion on screen. Colado appreciates this about visual storytelling and how it speaks to new Americans immigrating to the U.S. “That’s the beauty of cinema to me,” she said.

Fellow Honduran America Ferrera is at the top of Colado’s list of people she wants to work with one day. She sees the Barbie actress as an inspirational example of the possibilities the world has to offer for Hondurans in the U.S. Ferrera’s triumphant attitude is what drove her mom to immigrate here. That is what gives Colado a newfound confidence in screenwriting.

Colado also wants Latino filmmakers looking for words of wisdom to know that their community needs them to bring forth their best. “You are the descendants of the unconquered, the persistent, the survivors of cunning mind[s] and daring spirit. Tell your stories, and you’ll show the world who we are.”

Ernest Govea

The endless stories in Ernest Govea’s imagination growing up led to his interest in filmmaking. The 28-year-old is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in film production with an emphasis on directing from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. He realized how much he thrived as a first assistant director while working on student film projects. He was pleasantly shocked to make it into the mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program, getting the opportunity to create his short film “Arroz y Frijoles.”  

“I got to call ‘action’ and I felt at that moment, I was [a] director,” recalls Govea about the film’s production. “When it was finally my time to shoot, I was so nervous, but my producer Linda, my first AD John, and everyone else around me was there to support my vision.”

Much of Govea’s work ethic comes from his military background as a Marine Corps veteran. He strives to be the hardest-working person in the room, using his adaptability and resilience on and off a film set. “I’m okay with failure because it teaches me what not to do next time and to learn from my mistakes,” he said. “I take all my achievements with a grain of salt and count my blessings when I am allowed to shine.”

As a Latino, Govea admits to being a “No Sabo” kid. He’s working on embracing his culture as an adult by learning Spanish and cooking traditional meals. His past and present selves both influence his work. He’s currently working on a new script about “an uncultured man” and using knowledge from the mentorship to get his project up to industry standards. 

For him, showing off his culture through visual storytelling means sharing our daily struggles, traditions, and inside jokes. These all create a common connection among audiences. Representation is also a big part of that importance. Govea highlights shows like “Narcos,” “Mayans M.C.,” and “This Fool” as popular shows that do these things. He dreams of working with Chris Estrada and Frankie Quiñones from the latter one day. In addition, he would love to work with directors like Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón.

When asked what he hopes to be doing in five years, Govea said: “I’m hoping that I will be the most sought-after first assistant director in the business, directing my own stories I want to tell, building my knowledge in the film industry, and gaining trust amongst the crew and actors as someone who takes their job seriously but with some fun as well.”

As he completes film school, he’s putting the new equipment he was gifted as part of the mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Program to good use, creating content for himself. Govea suggests young Latino filmmakers should create TikToks or Reels to start, which could attract the attention of professionals in the industry. “Good things come to you in time, and you will have it if you are focused, driven, and determined to succeed to the best of your abilities,” he said.

Make sure to stay tuned to mitú’s socials for updates on Season 2 of the mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program!