OLLU student up for 'Filmmaker of the Year'

Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2012

Our Lady of the Lake University sophomore Jaime Sanchez possesses a keen eye, an ability to capture light and shadow and tell stories with a camera. RAW: natural born artists, an independent arts organization, recognizes this gift, and has selected Sanchez as one of three finalists for San Antonio Filmmaker of the Year.

The winner, to be announced on Nov. 17, will become eligible for the national RAWards competition. The national Filmmaker of the Year, announced on Dec. 3, will attend an awards ceremony in Hollywood in January and receive a prize package. The package includes consultations with Hollywood film producers, a screening of their film at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles and placement in the Taos Shortz Film Festival.

“I feel really blessed to be a finalist,” Sanchez says. “If I don’t get the award, it was still a great opportunity. I do think being a finalist will open more doors for me. I want to see what else the Lord will bring to me. I’ve been through a lot of hardships.”

Sanchez, 28, was born in Chicago with a medical condition that caused his head to swell and crack from excessive fluid on the brain. He nearly died. Due to a learning disability, Sanchez took special education classes from first grade until he completed high school. On the recommendation of a counselor in Chicago, he came to San Antonio to serve at AmeriCorps, a network of national service programs. 

While tutoring children, Sanchez discovered a love for cameras and photography. He enrolled at San Antonio College, completed a film project and transferred to OLLU. He won first place in the San Antonio Neighborhood Film Project student category for directing the music video, “Dia de los Muertos.”

He won other awards -- including the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts scholarship in September  -- but struggled, at times, with homelessness and hunger. Though he lives with a cerebral shunt — a pump attached to a catheter that drains fluid from his head -- Sanchez has persevered and impressed his professors. 

“He’s one of our most talented students,” says Antoinette Winstead, OLLU professor of Digital Film and TV production. “He’s one of those amazing people with an amazing story that shows no matter what adversity you go through, you can survive it.” 

The University community can support Sanchez by voting for him online. To vote, you must click on this link , click “register” and fill out the required fields. You may vote once each day until Oct. 15.