Jorge Gutierrez’s feature The Book of Life didn’t win a ton of awards during the now-concluded award season, but Gutierrez himself should win an award for being the most inspiring director on the awards circuit.

Against all odds, the forty-year-old Gutierrez has carved out a unique space for himself and his eccentrically ethnic viewpoint in whitewashed Hollywood. Throughout the award season, he has attributed his success to the simple things, like persistence and believing in one’s self.

Last Friday Gutierrez delivered a funny and worthwhile six-minute speech while being honored by the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Impact Awards in Beverly Hills, California. Watch it below:

While Jorge’s speech was ostensibly aimed at a Latino audience, the substance of his speech will motivate any young filmmaker, regardless of ethnicity. For example, what young filmmaker hasn’t been told by a teacher that their ideas weren’t marketable? Here’s how Jorge took those comments:

All my teachers in school would look at all my work, and they would say, “You’re never going to get a job if you keep doing this stuff,” and I didn’t speak English very well so all I heard was, “Do this…get job.”

Jorge explained that the way he’s been able to do what he wants in Hollywood is by putting himself in a position to be his own boss:

At one point, a producer who was not Latino said to me, “You know know, Jorge…I really like your stuff, but I’m not going to hire you. But I’ll give you a piece of advice: the only person who’s going to hire you to do this stuff is you.…You have to be sitting in my chair. You have to be the creator. You have to be the producer. You have to be the guy who made the show. And then you can hire yourself.”

An optimistic type, the word ‘no’ never means ‘no’ to him:

Every time someone told me, “No,” every time someone said, “We can’t do this type of stuff,” I took it as a “No” was always a step to a “Maybe,” and then enough “Maybes” turn into, “Sure, why not!”

And when an artist is fortunate enough to produce a project, here’s his advice on making it connect with audiences:

The biggest lesson I got from [The Book of Life] was in order for you to make something that resonates, it should always come from an honest place. I truly believe that we live in a world full of cynicism, and there’s so much looking down on emotion. And so, as Latinos, we could not be more emotional, we could not be more passionate, and I really believe that if the work we do is work that’s coming from a real place, and a work that’s full of heart, then it’s bulletproof. No one can tear it down.

Gutierrez’s second feature film project was announced last week.

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