Breaking into the Entertainment Industry: Matthew’s Story

Entertainment /

Matthew Castellanos shares how AT&T Hello Lab is helping Latinos close the gap on being underrepresented in the film industry, despite accounting for 23% of frequent movie goers.

Matthew Castellanos knew at 13 he wanted to tell great stories through film and TV. He didn’t know how or to what extent, but he also wanted to employ other filmmakers to help tell their stories.

While Latinos make up nearly 18% of the U.S. population and account for 23% of frequent moviegoers, they continue to be underrepresented in the film industry.

AT&T Hello Lab is committed to giving audiences the content they love from creators they can relate to. We launched the Mentorship Program earlier this year to pair entertainment industry leaders with five aspiring filmmakers from diverse backgrounds as they create signature work. And Matthew was one of them.

“I’ve directed small-budget music videos and shows. But this was my first dive into narrative film and producing,” Matthew said. “It was such a humbling experience to collaborate with experts in the field. This experience has made me a better storyteller and a better director. I’m not who I was at the beginning of this program.” 

Matthew’s film “Yoshua” is about a group of outcast teens who must flee their hometown of South Central to protect their big blue alien friend from a ban against its kind.

“‘Yoshua’ has many meanings. It’s a story of star-crossed lovers unable to love each other because society doesn’t allow it,” Matthew said. “It’s also a story of immigration and deportation. But in its simplest form, it’s about belonging and acceptance.”

Today in Los Angeles, Matthew’s short film will debut at a special premiere for all five AT&T Hello Lab Mentorship Program filmmakers. Each of the filmmakers leave the program with a high-production-quality signature short film and a network of contacts to help them succeed and provide support as they break into the entertainment industry.

AT&T is genuinely invested in nurturing the next wave of creative minds and content creators, and giving a platform to underrepresented voices.

All AT&T Hello Lab Mentorship Program films are now available on DIRECTV NOW and DIRECTV.

For more information about AT&T Hello Lab’s initiatives go to att-hellolab.com.