Mexican Alejandro Carrillo, a Digital Art and Animation student at Tec de Monterrey, created a short film that has received first place in the animation category at the Toronto Indie Filmmakers Festival.
“I really enjoyed finding out because my dream is to direct an animated film, and now my work has been recognized in other countries. I still can’t believe it,” said the 22-year-old.
The animated short film had already been screened at this and other festivals, such as the Roma Short Film Festival, the BAM! Festival in Texas, and Digital Short Film Fest 2021, where it came in third place.
In 2020, Carrillo also created a coloring book that was an Amazon Best Seller, and two of his illustrations were featured in the virtual Walt Disney Family Museum.
How he received the news that he’d won first place
Alex Carrillo says the short film “Express” was made for one of his classes at Tec de Monterrey, where he’ll graduate in 2022.
“Express” tells the story of Eddy, the main character, who’s afraid to show his talents to the world until his favorite editor comes to town and inspires him to pursue his dream of becoming a writer.
After submitting his animated short to various festivals, such as the Roma Short Film Festival in August, it wasn’t until October that he was notified of his first-place win at the Toronto Indie Filmmakers Festival.
“They had selected it for screening, and I thought that was going to be the end of it. Several weeks went by, and I was notified by email.
“I thought it was just a thank you because it didn’t say anything like ‘Congratulations’ in the title, but then I saw that I’d won,” said Carrillo.
“My work has been recognized in other countries. I still can’t believe it.”
Now, Alex’s short film, winner in the Animation category, one of the festival’s 28 categories, will be shown for even longer and its creator will be acknowledged.
This is the first animated short film made by Alex Carrillo to receive first place at an international festival.
“It motivates me not to quit, to keep learning, to keep creating content, and most of all, it motivates me to give 110% to my projects,” says Alex.
Becoming known in national media
Alex’s story has been shared in national and international media, and he’s even been invited online to television programs, such as Venga La Alegría, where he’ll return in person in November 2021.
“The Public Relations issue has been somewhat difficult. An agency helped me get some interviews in 2020.
“After I published the book, I looked for a way to tell my story, and it happened gradually,” he says.
“It motivates me not to quit, to keep learning, and to keep creating content.”
Alex adds that his time in Tec de Monterrey’s Storytellers program, where students collaborate on content creation in the areas of national communication and the Tec’s campuses in Mexico was also helpful.
After Alex’s story reached media outlets such as Sopitas, Forbes Life Latam magazine interviewed him in October 2021 and let him illustrate the cover of that issue.
“The fact that they trusted me with this illustration felt really good. They gave me the creative freedom to draw.
“Many entrepreneurs dream about getting in Forbes, and for me, it was also a dream come true to be there at 22 years old,” says Alex.
Becoming a speaker to inspire more people
As a result of his book being recognized as a Best Seller on Amazon, right behind J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book saga, Alex has been invited to give speeches in his native Saltillo, Coahuila, as well as in Monterrey, Nuevo León, where he’s pursuing his degree.
“The first time I was invited was for an event at Tec de Monterrey’s Saltillo campus in the field of entrepreneurship.
“I went, I told my story, and talked about how I’d done the things I’d done. It was very cool because it breaks the stereotype in Saltillo that what you do stays there and doesn’t go any further,” he says.
He also says that Adobe and Talent Network invited him to give a web talk during an event called Creative Land, which was one of his largest audiences.
He’s received other invitations to give speeches at various other events on the Tec’s Saltillo campus, at some local schools and universities, and at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL).
“The plan is to keep improving the presentation. I’d like to give one at the Monterrey campus before graduating,” says Carrillo, who hopes to graduate from the Tec in June 2022.
Preparing new projects
Alongside his studies, Alex is already working on another animated short film and on his second coloring book.
He also joined forces with the “Luis Pablo” association, with the idea of creating illustrations to raise funds and support children with cancer who don’t have sufficient resources for their treatment.
During the month of November, there’ll also be an auction of one of his paintings to raise funds for the Red Cross in Saltillo.
“Now that I’m in the final stages of my degree, I’d like to suggest that young people take advantage of every moment and every project they take on. What’s made these projects of mine stand out hasn’t been the idea of winning an award.
“I never expected the short film to win a festival. I made it for a class. If you carry out a project and fall in love with it and dedicate time to it, the rest will just fall into place,” Carrillo concludes.