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“Cortitos” the National Film Short Contest for Middle School Students, Culminates with a “Hi-five!”

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2023 – In addition to the Tú Cuentas Cine Youth Fest series which just culminated, HITN-TV is presenting another dynamic initiative in celebration of Puerto Rican Heritage Month – the national film shorts contest for middle-school students “Cortitos.” This special program invited students to write and produce a 1-minute short film or “cortito” featuring one of this year’s five Puerto Rican Heritage Month honorees and enter it into a contest.  

“Cortitos” congratulates Arianna Carias, a 7th grader, of Esperanza Academy Charter Middle School in Philadelphia, for winning the Hi-Five Award for her portrayal of Billy Ocasio’s inclusive and rich contributions to Puerto Rican Heritage. Her teacher is Dwight Wilkins. We are proud of her participation in “Cortitos,” and even prouder of her creativity and talent. Her work and writing are truly inspiring, and we hope that she will continue to create and share it with the world. Thank you, Arianna, for being a part of our community!  As the recipient of the “Hi-Five Award,” Arianna will receive a beautiful, custom-designed certificate and folder from HITN (Hispanic Information Telecommunications Network), as well as a $100 gift card.   

The “Cortitos” initiative serves a dual purpose, fostering creative expression while connecting different generations. By encouraging students to delve into the life stories of these remarkable Puerto Rican personalities, HITN-TV aims to deepen their understanding of these pioneers’ historical roots and the profound impact they have had on society. “Cortitos” welcomes the participation of all middle school creators next year. Stay tuned!  

Congratulations, Arianna!

Play Video Click to view Arianna’s video on 2023 Honoree Billy Ocasio!

The 2023 HITN Honorees for
Puerto Rican Heritage Month:

Billy Ocasio, Chicago

Billy Ocasio has served as the President and CEO of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture for the past nine years. A former politician who served as 26th Ward Alderman for 15 years. He left the Chicago City Council in 2009, appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to serve as an advisor on social justice issues.

More information: Here | Here

José Rivera, New York

José Rivera (born July 30, 1936) is a former politician who served in the New York State Assembly from 2001 to 2022, representing the Fordham-Bedford, Kingsbridge Heights, Bedford Park, and Belmont sections of the Bronx. He was a member of the New York City Council from 1987 to 2000.

More information: Here | Here

Lourdes Ramos-Rivas, Los Angeles

Lourdes I. Ramos-Rivas, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art or MOLAA. Dr. Lourdes Ramos-Rivas, the first Puerto Rican and Latina president and CEO of MOLAA has initiated ambitious plans to grow the museum into a first-class institution with international clout. A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Ramos has led the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan, one of the largest and most prominent Latin American cultural institutions.

More information: Here | Here

Olga Méndez, New York (Posthumous recognition)

Olga Aran Méndez (February 5, 1925 — July 29, 2009) was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to a state legislature in the United States when, in 1978, she became a member of the New York State Senate.

More information: Here | Here

Ramon Figueroa Sorrentini and Irmgard Iglesias, Puerto Rico

Ramon and Irmgard, both retired educators, have organized the Comité de Trabajo y Apoyo a Vieques and the Festival Reyes Magos de Vieques for the past 25 years. The Festival has benefitted thousands of Vieques, Puerto Rico, schoolchildren by raising money for school supplies and a children’s festival.

More information: Here


Tuesday, October 17, 2023:

Submissions open: FILL OUT embedded Google Form.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023:

Submissions end at 5pm ET.

Wednesday, November 1-8, 2023:

Films are reviewed.

Monday, November 13, 2023:

The winning film will be announced on our website, social media and shown on HITN’s cable TV station, the largest Hispanic non-profit cable station in the country.

Participating cities:

Boston, MA
Hartford, CT
Philadelphia, PA
San Juan, PR

Chicago, IL
Houston, TX
Ponce, PR
Springfield, MA

Cleveland, OH
New York, NY
San Antonio, TX
Yauco, PR

The 2022 HITN Honorees for
Puerto Rican Heritage Month:

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, New York

Schomburg was a historian, writer, collector, and activist who was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico and moved to the United States in 1891. He researched and raised awareness of the contributions that Afro-Latin Americans and African Americans have made to society. An important intellectual figure in the Harlem Renaissance, his collection became the basis of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem.

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José E. López, Chicago

José E. López, born in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico has written and lectured extensively on the political and social reality of Puerto Ricans in the United States. He co-founded The Puerto Rican Cultural Center Juan Antonio Corretjer in Chicago, in 1973.

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Rev. Luis Cortés, Philadelphia

The Reverend Cortés is the Founder, President and CEO of Esperanza, one of the leading voices for Latinos in America and the premiere Hispanic faith-based Evangelical network in the United States. Rev. Cortés founded Esperanza in 1986.

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Rep. Minnie González, Connecticut

González was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives inl 988, serving the 3rd district in Hartford. She has been the Deputy Majority Leader since 2017.

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Rep. Nydia Velázquez, New York

Nydia Margarita Velázquez has served in the United States House of Representatives since 1993. A Democrat from New York, Velázquez is the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in the United States Congress.

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Rules & Guidelines

Please read and carefully consider the following details and guidelines for Cortitos 2023.
Upload your film on November 1st, 2023 by 5 pm ET.

All entrants must adhere to the following guidelines:

Tú Cuentas Cine Youth Fest would like to invite you to participate in “Cortitos,” a unique film contest that offers your students an opportunity to have their work showcased on HITN, the nation’s largest Hispanic cable TV station.

“Cortitos,” as part of HITN’s Tú Cuentas Cine Youth Film Fest, features two engaging and educational activities designed to provide a rich learning experience and foster creativity for middle-school students.

Entrants will create a 1-minute film about one of the five prominent Puerto Rican figures featured in our series (see this year’s honorees here) Submitted films can be animated or live-action – funny or serious.

  • All films must be created specifically for “Cortitos” Contest 2023.
  • Entry is free and is open to all middle school students in the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • Each film must be no longer than 60 seconds. Opening and/or closing credits are not required, but (if added) may add up to an additional 10 seconds in total.
  • Films may be in English or Spanish or have no dialogue at all. Non-English audio (and important on-screen text) must have English subtitles.
  • Ensure that all content in your film (including footage, music, images, props, etc.) is your own. If you include any copyrighted or trademarked content, you must be able to provide written permission for its use. Entries containing any unauthorized content will be disqualified.
  • All entries must be submitted online (including uploading the short film and at least two still images from the film and a poster image of the film) by Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at 5pm ET.