Over the past five years, the Latino Media Arts and Studies Program (L-MAS) at the University of Texas at Austin has grown from a class group and minor to a hub for Latin American scholarship, community, and creativity. Founded by professors Charles Ramirez Berg, Marie Beltrán and Maggie Rivas Rodriguez, the program is in the Moody College of Communication. Its aim is to support the growth of Latino media studies and Latino subjects and professionals in the fields of film, television, journalism and advertising.
“In these industries, Latinxes have always been under-represented and poorly represented both on screen and behind the scenes,” said Mirasol Enríquez, L-MAS program director. “So there is a real opportunity for our graduates to come out and change the world. “
The program provides undergraduate and graduate students at UT the opportunity to hear renowned speakers and participate in research opportunities and events. The minor is open to UT undergraduates, and courses include Mexican film history, Latin American reporting, and international advertising.
A special part of the L-MAS program is the sense of community it brings to many students, says Enríquez. “We’re here to support students, provide them with resources and help them find other people who care about what they’re doing.
The program supports students through the annual L-MAS Student Awards, where students are encouraged to submit their original shorts or articles focusing on Latino themes for a chance to win cash prizes. “We want students to share stories about our various communities, reinforcing the fact that there is not just one Latinx experience, but there are several,” says Enríquez.
Alexander Rosales, a graduate student in radio-television-cinema, this year won first place in the Graduate Film Award category. His entry, “Tejano Night,” is a short film about a young Mexican-American who feels out of place during a visit to a South Texas bar one night. “It’s a story of accepting who you are and doing your best not to be ashamed of yourself for what you want,” he says.
On the importance of sharing Latino stories, Rosales says, “We make up about 18% of the American population, but that number is not reflected in the number of Latinxes who work in the radio, television, television and television industries. cinema and media. All we can do is keep telling stories like “Tejano Night” to show that we are quite capable of attracting the attention of a large audience. Our stories are precious and should be treated as such. “
Looking to the future, Enríquez says the program plans to connect more students to relevant internships where they can continue to develop skills that will help them find careers in television, film, journalism and advertising. .
She is proud that the Moody College of Communication hosts top-notch advertising and journalism programs, and that the Radio-Television-Film department has graduated more Latino filmmakers than any other film school in the country. She says the exceptional students UT attracts motivates her team to continue developing the L-MAS program to make an impact on American media culture.