How a bisexual Latina filmmaker created a community she and other queer cineastes needed

To have your identity be seen on television, is to have your daily experiences validated rght in front of you. Filmmaker Kim Hoyos knows this and strives to manifest this into reality every day. As a bisexual Latina filmmaker whose parents hail from Colombia, Hoyos is building a community of like minded creatives through the Light Leaks.

The organization is dedicated to empowering female and nonbinary cineastes, while cultivating intersectionality within film and TV. The Light Leaks provides these creatives with a plethora of resources and a safe space in the entertainment industry for them to build and tell their unique stories, with one of those spaces being Facebook. Aside from leading The Light Leaks, Hoyos focuses on her own independent film and TV work, exploring female characters and their coming-of-age stories through a comedy lens, and is a Shorty Award-winning digital strategist at the Los Angeles LGBT Center

INTO spoke with Hoyos about how she uses Facebook to build community, the queer filmmaker who she believes deserves all the praise, and how she wants to do an Aubrey Plaza biopic.

How did “the Light Leaks” come to be and how have you used Facebook’s community-building tools to uplift the LGBTQ+ community?

I created the Light Leaks in late 2016 as a college junior because as a young queer Latina filmmaker, I saw the need for an accessible online community for rising women and nonbinary filmmakers. By the time I was in college, I had already faced some sexist moments that left an impression on me and I was feeling  disconnected from my classmates because I was one of few women and few Latinos in my film courses. Though I went online to find other forms of community, none felt accessible for where I was in my creative journey because they were for filmmakers later in their career or with more knowledge. I wanted to channel what I was learning about representation in media and my skills in social media for something positive so the idea of “the Light Leaks” formed. 

The Light Leaks is a community dedicated to highlighting, educating, and empowering women and nonbinary filmmakers through content, events, and more. Launching on Facebook was essential to build out a soft-launch to the Light Leaks website and has continued to be a key resource to grow the online community. One of TLL’s earliest wins online was Issa Rae Presents sharing one of our articles about Insecure on their Facebook. I ran around screaming because it felt like I was doing something right from my laptop and dorm room. Somehow the little website I started in New Jersey had amazing contributors interested and then Steffany Ramirez, a contributor located all the way across the country, had her article recognized by Issa Rae’s production company and that’s Facebook’s magic.

From the beginning, the mission of the Light Leaks has been clear, and Facebook and its tools have assisted me in building our community and spreading their art. On Facebook, the Light Leaks content, as well as my content through Kim Hoyos Media, has the chance to reach people who want to support LGBTQ+ creators and marginalized voices. Queer and nonbinary filmmakers who are featured on the Light Leaks have their short films highlighted online alongside doing a social media takeover on our accounts and thus being able to build more of their own audience as well. The credibility that having a presence on platforms like Facebook, lends to rising creators is important. 

What do you find more challenging: leading a community hub or filmmaking? 

Both are strenuous, but my filmmaking and production life feels like it ebbs and flows, reaching conclusions through each project. The responsibilities or creativity behind being a small business owner and leading a community hub never ends. I’m incessantly brainstorming ways to reach more rising filmmakers with the resources we can, messaging someone on the Light Leaks team about a social project or event, or creating content. Our Facebook group is a special space where women and nonbinary filmmakers can talk to each other and also hire each other, but also any easy way for me to directly ask our community what they need. The direct communication as a content creator and business owner is the heartbeat of the Light Leaks and Facebook is an important part of that. 

Who is a queer filmmaker that deserves to be recognized?

Emma Seligman should continue to get her flowers! I admire how young she is and how she’s working with her friends. They’re truly manifesting what they set out to create and living their best lives while bringing more WLW storylines to the screen. I love it! 

If we gave you a budget to produce a biopic about your favorite queer icon, who would it be, and what would be the Oscar-winning scene?

I’m going to choose to be absolutely unhinged and say I would love to direct an Aubrey Plaza biopic with Evil Hag Productions and the Light Leaks co-producing. I just really feel that combining our sensibilities, casting Jenna Ortega, and reverting to stop motion anytime we’re hitting a particularly emotional beat will nail it during awards season. Aubrey if you’re reading this, please reach out.

The most underrated movie you’re obsessed with right now and why should everyone watch it? 

I’ve been gravitating towards TV shows more than movies lately due to my attention span, and I recently got hooked on Neon. The series revolves around Santi, an aspiring reggaeton artist in his early 20s, and his cousin/manager Ness, as they, along with their friend Felix, relocate to Miami to further Santi’s career after a viral song catapults him into the spotlight. Neon explores the pursuit of dreams and the challenges that come with it. What stands out to me, apart from the music aspect, is the authentic portrayal of Ness’s queer Latina experience. The show beautifully captures the highs and lows of her journey. One memorable moment is a touching flashback scene at her quinceañera, where Ness, yearning to dance with her girlfriend, navigates the complexities of avoiding family scrutiny. Neon doesn’t shy away from portraying the authentic experiences of queer Latinx women and including it seamlessly in the story. I think it’s a must watch for music lovers, especially, and anyone who wants to watch some positive LGBTQ+ representation in storylines. 

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