Latina Spotlight: Meet Kim Hoyos, Founder of “the Light Leaks”

Image via: Larry McAllister II

Kim Hoyos can recall a self-expressive childhood filled with many moments of difficulty taking directions from others, stating, “I always liked speaking up for myself and making my opinions known.” However, via creative projects in high school, she finally found an outlet that allowed her to express her opinions, expel creative energies and become in touch with who she was—filmmaking.

Currently, when she’s not studying Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University or interning for the digital team at MTV, she’s cultivating a community for female and gender non-conforming filmmakers at the Light Leaks.

“If I tried to stop doing anything I were doing right now, I wouldn’t be myself and I wouldn’t be happy.”

the Light Leaks

The Light Leaks is “a website for empowerment, education, and inspiration of female and gender non conforming filmmakers.” Launched in February of this year, the site features monthly interviews with industry creators, think pieces crowdsourced from their online community and spotlights on projects.

This August, they hosted a night screening of various works from female-identified filmmakers and over 100 people attended to enjoy diverse art and company. Although coming off a successful first year and event, Kim described that others failed to see the value of her platform due to lack of revenue and a full-time staff.  Despite criticism, her resiliency has been worthwhile as the Light Leaks was featured in BUST magazine and she’s received positive affirmations regarding her platform. “I’ve had a lot of young filmmakers, specifically multicultural women reach out to me to tell me that the things I’m doing make their lives better or voices heard. Emails, texts, tweets, and comments saying anything about how I’ve helped someone else makes everything so much more worth it.”

As the Light Leaks continues to evolve, hosting additional events as well as the creation of  revenue via advertisements or sponsorships are of top priority.

“Light leaks are usually seen as bright, beautiful mistakes in a photo that disrupt the image. We are the bright and beautiful and disruptive voices of the film industry, but we are not mistakes.”

Identity and Privilege

Hoyos lived experience as a Colombian and first-generation American have profoundly impacted her self-awareness and business concept. Her background creates a duality: “skepticism of spaces and organizations who don’t speak out on minority issues” but also acknowledgment of the privilege of being a white-passing Latina. And while male colleagues have previously thought she was incapable or lacked film knowledge and experience, her gender has also allowed her to write scripts with great depth that understand the need for diversity—which ultimately proves there aren’t only limitations within marginalized identities.

Beyond demographics, she’s found an identity and personal growth within filmmaking. Collaborating with and building a network of like-minded creatives has cultivated a community she yearned for as an expressive adolescent. Regarding the Light Leaks, understanding the platform’s mission and what she personally and professionally values have ensured they listen to and spotlight those that expand beyond the traditional social norm. Essentially, filmmaking is the medium that has provided self-actualization and is allowing her to unleash enduring change.  

“I feel like it’s in my DNA to be creating art and helping even the playing field for others trying to as well.”

Kim Hoyos has made it her mission to casually discuss representation and diversity in media so it’s normalized and creates inclusive work. She is full of light—Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls has dubbed her “A Smart Girl Making Movie Magic”—and is the film industry’s next greatest revolutionary.

To keep up with all things Kim Hoyos and“the Light Leaks,” follow @kimhoyos on Instagram and the @thelightleaks on Twitter.   

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