Dominick Torres ‘20 has won the inaugural YES Award (Young Emerging Filmmaker Showcase) with his film Aguante at the 2021 Newburyport Documentary Film Festival. Aguante is a documentary about the Puerto Rican battle against gender-based violence. It is a story about the impact that machismo culture and a complex history of colonialism in Puerto Rico has had on generations of women.
The Young Emerging Filmmaker Showcase featured seven short films produced by current and recent graduates of Boston area colleges and universities. Filmmakers from Wheaton College, Emerson College, Northeastern University, Fitchburg State University, and Lesley University screened their work. The jury selected Aguante as the winner of the YES award, which is dedicated to helping fuel the winner’s next creative endeavor with a monetary prize.
Dominick writes “The festival was an incredible event to be a part of, seeing what other filmmakers had centered their documentaries around was so interesting. Being awarded the YES Award was such a surprise because there were many films that were outstanding and so to be selected was such an honor. It was a subtle reminder that there is many more opportunities out there for me and I just have to be patient and put in the work necessary.”
Dominick filmed Aguante as part of the faculty-led study away course, Gender and Post-Hurricane Maria Reconstruction in Puerto Rico, taught by Gabriella Torres, Professor of Anthropology. Dominick, along with Allison Chaves ‘21, participated in the course as a Wheaton Filmmaker in Residence, a program that provides funding for students to attend and produce films about the experiences or subject of the trip. Dominick edited the film as part of an independent study with Patrick Johnson, Associate Professor of Filmmaking.
The Newburyport Documentary Film Festival was established in 2004 as Massachusetts’ first all-documentary film festival and features documentary films from both established and emerging filmmakers. Several films produced at Wheaton have screened at the festival, including The Hidden Harpist in 2016 (produced by Ellie Levine ‘18) and HONK: A Festival of Activist Street Bands in 2017 (produced by faculty member, Patrick Johnson). Current students Will Coleman ‘22 and Tyler Phinney ‘22 also held summer internships with the festival.
Dominick is currently working as an associate producer for Media Sutra and has formed his own LLC, Inherited Stories, to develop future projects. He will use the YES Award to begin production of Eulogy From Heaven, a short narrative that displays the troubles Black and Brown Men have sharing their emotions.