Director Guillermo del Toro is building on the momentum from his two Oscar wins to benefit aspiring filmmakers in his native Mexico. A week after taking home the statuettes for Best Director and Best Picture for the critically acclaimed film The Shape of Water, del Toro is back in his hometown, offering Masterclasses and scholarships to aspiring moviemakers in his country.
Every year at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, Jenkins-Del Toro International Grant will offer up to $60,000 to hopeful filmmakers for the opportunity to study abroad at a renowned film school.
Inspiring younger generations of artists is important to the director, who dedicated his Oscar win for Best Picture to “every young filmmaker” watching. “[Those] who are showing us how things are done in every country in the world. I was a kid enamored with movies,” he said during his acceptance speech. “I thought that this could never happen. It happened. And I want to tell you, everyone that is dreaming of using the genre of fantasy to tell the stories about the things that are real in the world today, you can do it! This is a door. Kick it open and come in!”
Following the ceremony on Mar. 4, Del Toro revealed he was heading home to Mexico to see his parents “with these two babies,” he said, gesturing to his Academy Awards. Since then, the director has fulfilled a longtime promise to return to Mexico to open a theater in his name and offer a free masterclass, which filled immediately with 30,000 requests for entry in less than 30 minutes. “If we change a life, if we change a history, we change a generation,” the Oscar-winner said during his masterclass.