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2019 Premios Mesquite Winners


The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and CineFestival are excited to announce the winners of the 2019 Premios Mesquite, and the Fourth Annual Ya’Ke Smith Filmmaker Award.  The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) will also present the NALAC Fund for the Arts Adán Medrano Legacy Award in Film.

For over 30 years Premio Mesquite has been one of the few awards available to independent Latino filmmakers in the country. Now in its 41styear, CineFestival continues to recognize and showcase the best and most current work in Latinx film. 

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SPECIAL JURY AWARD

The Infiltrators

Directed by Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra

2019, USA, 93 min


BEST DOCUMENTARY

Building the American Dream

Directed by Chelsea Hernandez

2019, USA, 75 min


BEST FEATURE FILM

The Garden Left Behind

Directed by Flavio Alves

2019, Brazil/USA, 88 min


BEST SHORT FILM

Plane Pretend

Directed by Sharon Arteaga

2018, USA, 18 min


BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY

En la Frontera del Arte (On the Margins of Art)

Directed by Miranda Harris-Martinez and Mike Curran

2018, Mexico/USA, 15 min


4th ANNUAL Ya’Ke SMITH FILMMAKER AWARD

La Tamalada

Directed by Anne Guerra-Armendariz

2018, USA, 11 min


NALAC ADÁN MEDRANO LEGACY AWARD IN FILM

Ya No Estoy Aquí (I’m No Longer Here)

Directed by Fernando Frias de la Parra


Premios Mesquite are selected by a panel of recognized film experts who serve as judges of entries submitted to CineFestival. Judges are all experienced filmmakers and multiple award winners; 2019 judges include Miguel Alvarez, San Antonio native and UT Austin lecturer; Maru Buendias-Senties, Mexico City native and Los Angeles based film producer; and Jim Mendiola, San Antonio native and resident, filmmaker and film programming expert.  This year’s Premio Mesquite winners will be honored after the screening of their respective films.


Meet the Judges

Miguel Alvarez is a former mechanical engineer and comic book nerd, Miguel Alvarez has been making films for the last eighteen years. He has garnered awards from the Directors’ Guild of America, Panavision’s Emerging Filmmaker program, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. His most recent film, Atlantic City, a tale of two drifters in San Antonio, was an inaugural participant in the Kodak + Kickstarter Initiative. He holds both a BS in Mechanical Engineering and MFA in Film Production from the University of Texas at Austin where he continues to lecture today.


Jim Mendiola is an independent filmmaker, programmer, and writer based in Texas. A Rockefeller Intercultural Media Fellow, Mendiola’s films have screened in numerous film festivals, museums, and colleges in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, public television and cable TV.


Maru Buendia-Senties is originally from Mexico City and is an award-winning Writer/Director currently living in Los Angeles. As a winner of the Princess Grace Award and the Latino Lens Narrative Incubator by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, Marufollows her passion to make action, horror, and sci-fi films. Thanks to her visual effects background, she has worked with Robert Rodriguez at Troublemaker Studios; Mirada Studios, a company created by Guillermo del Toro; and CoSA VFX. She has managed VFX production for films by Sony, Screen Gems, and Annapurna. She has an MFA in Film Production from the University of Texas at Austin.


2018 Premios Mesquite Award Winners

BEST FEATURE FILM:
We the Animals
Directed by Jeremiah Zagar, 2018, USA, 90 min

BEST DOCUMENTARY:
Ruben Blades Is Not My Name
Directed by Abner Benaim, 2018, USA, 85 min Spanish with English Subtitles

SPECIAL JURY AWARD:
As I Walk Through The Valley
Directed by Charlie Vela and Ronnie Garza, 2017, USA, 86 min

BEST SHORT FILM:
Atlantic City
Directed by Miguel Alvarez, 2018, USA, 15 min

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY:
An Uncertain Future
Directed by Chelsea Hernandez and Iliana Sosa, 2017, USA, 11 min

In addition to the Premio Mesquite Awards, CineFestival is proud to present the Third Annual Ya’Ke Smith Filmmaker Award to:
San Antonio
Directed by Fatima Aguillon, 2017, USA, 3 min

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