Story to Tell: Teen filmmaker showcases documentary at film fest

A documentary by local teenager Natalia Moreno-Campos started as a national history project submission and has now been accepted to two of the most influential film festivals in Texas

“One Sweatshop Story” soon will be featured at The San Antonio Film Festival and the Festival de Cine Latinoamericano.

Moreno-Campos, an upcoming senior at Veterans Memorial Early College High School, developed her interest for Cinema and Creative Communication from a very young age.

During her sophomore year, she had the opportunity to participate in two movies as an assistant to the director where she learned the craft and use of cinema equipment.

“I do care a lot, not just about what’s happening in the United States but in the world,” Moreno-Campos said.

The documentary discusses “The Shirtwaist Factory Fire.” A pivotal point in the movement for better working conditions among factory employees. It reveals the awful conditions that the textile factory workers endured in the early twentieth century and compares them to the ones suffered in today’s global fashion industry, a press release about the film reads.

“My inspiration for it was because I saw a documentary a long time ago, ‘The true cost’, and it was about fashion and working conditions and once this year came along and I had to do a project, I thought about that and I wanted to do something about this topic. Especially since not a lot of people know about it.” Moreno-Campos said.

The 17-year-old filmmaker said she feels proud of having accomplished this because she said there is a stigma that men are the ones getting all the prizes and recognition. She said she is proud of being a woman.

Natalia Moreno-Campos, director of the documentary “One Sweatshop Story” is pictured Thursday at Venture X Brownsville. The 17-year-old director’s film has been accepted for two prestigious Texas film festivals The San Antonio Film Festival and the Festival de Cine Latinoamericano. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

“I feel good that I’m being part of this new wave of women, especially hispanic women, who are trying to put something out there,” she said.

“I’m very proud of being a woman, I’m very proud of being a girl and I feel that I am proving to some people that I can do it.”

The documentary was written and directed by her and filmed in Brownsville. It was awarded The Silver Medal at the Pinnacle Film Awards in February and The Platinum Award by the Midfield Film Festival in Albuquerque in March.

Since 1994, the San Antonio Film Festival has been providing an unparalleled platform for established filmmakers as well as up-and-coming students. They seek to express their unique vision through the international language of cinema, the press release reads.

The Festival de Cine Latinoamericano is a prominent Latino Film Festival in Texas and focuses on finding the very best international Latino content. Their goal is to showcase and support existing and emerging creative Latino filmmakers from across the world, the press release reads.

“I feel really excited my documentary is there and I feel really honored that it’s showing next to some other great films,” she said in an interview.

The local filmmaker plans on majoring in communications once in college because she feels it is the best way to get a message across. She said there are a lot of issues that she cares about, ranging from the environment to politics.

“Afterall, the thing that made me want to do that documentary was a documentary,” she said. “I definitely see myself making more documentaries but I also want to get more involved in the media so that I can reach as many people as possible.”