Mercedes Ortiz has just completed a year as a Tribeca Film Fellow —a year filled with mentoring, workshops, panel discussions, traveling, and, of course, filmmaking. The 18-year-old describes herself as “a singer, a musician, a songwriter, a poet, an activist, and a filmmaker,” and has gone from almost dropping out of high school to creating an award-winning short film. Ortiz, who hails from Spanish Harlem and will be attending Borough of Manhattan Community College later this year, talks to BlackEnterprise.com about her year in the fellowship program.
BE: How did you find out about the Tribeca Film Fellows program, and what was the application process like?
Ortiz: I started off as a poet with Urban Word, an organization dedicated to teaching kids how to write poems and bettering their writing. One of the teachers saw that my poems were very visual, and she thought I’d be perfect for filmmaking, since she had recommended some of her previous students. So she recommended me to Reel Works Teen Filmmaking in Brooklyn, and from there I made my first short film, called “A Work in Progress.”
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