“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.”
How did he get here? After graduating from high school in Chicago, a counselor recommended he travel to San Antonio and serve at AmeriCorps, a network of national service programs. While tutoring children and helping them produce slide shows, Sanchez made a discovery. As he stayed up late, working with his camera night after night, he thought, “Maybe this is something I should pursue.”
Sanchez started his first film project in 2007. A passion ignited and drove him to push through academic challenges at SAC without the aid of a tutor. He could have used help in math — his weakest subject — but after a lifetime of hearing what he couldn’t do, Sanchez insisted on studying alone. “It’s been my choice to prove other people wrong,“ he says.
After transferring to OLLU, Sanchez struggled. He had no housing, a broken marriage and child support payments. He also had a camera, a dream and a persevering spirit.
One friend offered him a place to stay. Others gave him food. Sanchez settled in, hit the books, and resumed working magic with his camera. He continued another passion as well. Sanchez helped autistic children produce videos at a local Jewish Community Center. “I taught them what I learned at SAC and what I’ve learned so far at The Lake.”
One compelling frame at a time, Sanchez is living out a dream that could be a documentary. He’d rather film his own documentary about the late Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers of America. Why?
Sanchez sees a little of himself in Chavez: low-income, hardworking, discriminated Hispanic, battling big odds. “When God calls me up,” Sanchez says, “I want people to know who I am, what I’ve been through and how hard it’s been.”