The mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program Announces Exciting Industry Mentors and a New Partnership with The Latino Film Institute at LALIFF

Adequately representing Latinos in Hollywood could increase industry revenues by $12-$18 billion annually

mitú x Walmart - films posters

Partnership Elevates Latino Filmmakers for the first time at LALIFF
Photo Links: mitú x Walmart - Poster Debut
mitú x Walmart - Filmmakers

LOS ANGELES, May 28, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Building on its commitment to elevate emerging Latino voices in filmmaking, the mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program returns for its second season. The program was recently recognized as a Shorty Awards Silver Honoree in the Multicultural Community Engagement category. New this year, the program is proud to announce an exciting partnership with the Latino Film Institute (LFI). For the first time, all participating filmmakers will have their films showcased during a special screening at the 2024 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) on Friday, May 31.

"The mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program is entering an exciting second season, now enhanced and even more committed to elevating Latino filmmakers by launching a partnership with the Latino Film Institute," said D.J. Vaughn, director of multicultural marketing partnerships at Walmart U.S. "This new partnership marks a major step forward, highlighting the program's growing influence and dedication to fostering diversity in the film industry by supporting the next generation of creative talent."

This year, the mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program has significantly expanded, doubling its number of industry mentors to include “One Day at a Time” Alma award-winning actor and filmmaker Justina Machado and “Saturday Night Live” Emmy award-winning director, producer and writer Oz Rodriguez. It has also introduced an enhanced 11-week accelerated mentorship format. Participating filmmakers now enjoy comprehensive access to mitú Studios in Los Angeles, resources to fully fund and produce their 5-10 minute short films, and a $10,000 stipend to use for future projects. Additionally, Walmart will fly the filmmakers to The Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas, where their films will be showcased. Chaired by Academy Award winner Geena Davis, the festival provides an excellent platform for exposure and recognition.

​​Season two filmmakers Matthew Serrano, Kaila Gutierrez, Sofia Ayerdi, and Manuel Villarreal were selected for their distinctive voices and narratives.

  • In Aguamadre by Sofia Ayerdi, we witness the bridging of generational gaps as a woman in her late thirties helps her mother in her mid-sixties embrace significant life changes, celebrating their coastal roots through collaboration and conversation.
  • Pick One, directed by Matthew Serrano, introduces a young protagonist who represents a fusion of multiple ethnicities and cultures, embodying the 200% archetype.
  • Kaila Gutierrez's Nana Carmen explores how familial love can overcome language barriers, depicting a young girl learning to communicate with her grandmother and forging a new path in their relationship.
  • Finally, in Manuel Villarreal’s El Colibrí, a young girl’s quest to repair a treasured hummingbird figurine becomes a journey that allows her to reclaim her cultural and community ties.

"This program is a game-changer for Latino filmmakers," said Justina Machado, Alma award-winning actor and filmmaker. "Being part of this mentorship means we can provide these talented filmmakers with the support and resources they need to bring their unique stories to life. It's an honor to help nurture their creativity and amplify their voices."

Oz Rodriguez, Emmy award-winning director, producer, and writer, added, "The expanded mentorship program and enhanced resources are invaluable for emerging filmmakers. I'm excited to be part of a program that is truly committed to fostering the next generation of Latino talent in the film industry."

Adequately representing Latinos in Hollywood could increase industry revenues by $12 billion to $18 billion annually. This boost comes from higher demand and authentic depictions appealing to both Latino and global audiences, according to the latest McKinsey and Company study on Latinos in Hollywood.

"We are proud to continue our partnership with Walmart, an ally in our mission to empower and celebrate Latinos in the Entertainment industry," said Joe Bernard, Chief Revenue Officer at NGL mitú. "Additionally, we are thrilled about our partnership with LFI where only a company like NGLmitu can bring together our clients, partners and the creative community in such an impactful way. The mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program not only enriches the talent pipeline but also ensures a diverse range of voices and perspectives in media, significantly bolstering the Latino community's presence in Hollywood and driving substantial economic growth."

Both Walmart and NGLmitú are committed to continuing their support for underrepresented voices in Hollywood, thereby contributing to a more inclusive and diverse media landscape.

About NGLmitú
NGL mitú is a leading U.S. Latin media and entertainment company dedicated to authentic, credible reach and messaging for the New Generation Latine majority driving growth in America. No company knows that community better, speaks to them more authentically or has as large a reach. Our end-to-end offerings span ad networks, social media, content studios, and business solutions.

About Walmart
Walmart Inc. is a people-led, tech-powered omnichannel retailer helping people save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, approximately 255 million customers and members visit more than 10,500 stores and numerous eCommerce websites in 19 countries. With fiscal year 2024 revenue of $648 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting, on Facebook at, on X (formerly known as Twitter) at, and on LinkedIn at

About The Latino Film Institute
The Latino Film Institute (LFI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating infrastructure for equity, diversity, and excellence for the Latino community in the entertainment industry. LFI houses the following signature programs: the Youth Cinema Project (YCP), the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), Latinx in Animation (LXiA), LFI Scholar and LFI Spotlight Series. For more information on LFI, visit

Ceci Toro

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at