Every week in July, Weekend edition celebrates exceptional student filmmakers and their projects. Over the past year, we found short films that show a unique perspective on events in the news from filmmakers across the country.
Last updated on July 4, 2021. This page will be updated every week with new selections.
Chuj Boys of Summer
The 17-minute film follows a teenage migrant named Yakin. He is from Guatemala and speaks only Chuj (pronounced “chew”) – the language of his native people. Gradually we see him settle in Telluride, a small town in Colorado.
Director Max Walker-Silverman says it’s a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of immigrants who are supposed to be the breadwinners of the family while still going through adolescence.
It uses non-professional actors, many of whom are native Guatemalans who migrated to the US and now live in Telluride.
Walker-Silverman co-wrote the film with his friend Marcos Ordoñez Ixwalanhkej Mendoza, who is Chuj and originally from Guatemala.
“For some movies, there’s a very clear line between writing and casting and directing,” Walker-Silverman says. “That’s really not the case here because me and my co-writer were writing and telling stories, details, things that he cared about, that they cared about, that they would like to have in this movie.”
The actors discussed the scenes before shooting, sometimes making changes. “That’s the way to give control and choice to the people that really matter,” he says. “So it completely makes everyone involved a writer, a director himself.”
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