Digital Film Grad Hector Ortiz Wins Filmmaking Grant

This week, CCC graduate Hector Ortiz began principal photography on Announcement, the film for which he was awarded a grant by the Richmond Arts Commission.

The short will focus on how the end of DACA impacts one Dreamer’s family.

“Whether you support immigration rights or are against,” Hector says, “it’s definitely not going to be what you expect.”

Hector sees the film as a vehicle to secure funding for a series of features about the lives of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“Every film is going to be a different story,” he says. “They’re all based on cases of people I know, or people who were in the news, but they’re all fictional.”

Hector is a graduate of Pinole Valley High, who earned a certificate in digital film from CCC in 2014, before completing an associate degree in liberal arts in 2016.

He heard about the Arts Commission grant from a friend who won for a children’s book a few years ago. With her encouragement, he also applied and won.

“The grant I was given,” he explains, “Was for the video equipment, because the equipment is pretty expensive. And to feed the cast, provide gas for actors, et cetera.”

The majority of the film will be shot in a house on the border of San Pablo and Richmond.

“This is going to be a film for Richmond,” Ortiz says. “We have people from San Pablo, and the lead character is from Hercules, but we opened [recruitment] first for Richmond.”

He hopes to finish shooting by the first week of July, then screen the film for the cast and community before distributing it online and entering it into festivals.

“My dream was always to go to a film school or something,” he explains, “But at the same time, I don’t want to wait for film school. I want to work on some projects, now, work on my craft.”

For now, Hector will using what he learned in CCC’s digital film program, where he says his favorite course was American Cinema. He also hopes to encourage more people to pursue their dreams through education, as well.

“It’s definitely worth it,” he says. “You might not take the same path as everyone else, but you will get there.”