Kim Hoyos is giving women and GNC filmmakers a voice with The Light Leaks

Kim Hoyos

After speaking with Kimberly Hoyos, founder of The Light Leaks, I can confidently say there is no other person that works as hard as she does for the women and gender nonconforming (GNC) filmmaker community, especially for Gen Z filmmakers. At the heart of it, we share the same passion for creating platforms for women in film to share their stories and to support each other. I’m so grateful that Kimberly Hoyos is fighting the same fight with me. This interview had been edited for clarity and space.

ROAD TO THE LIGHT LEAKS

REBECCA MARTIN: You started The Light Leaks during college, right?

KIMBERLY HOYOS: Yes, but there was a lot of footwork before The Light Leaks happened. Starting in my freshman year of college when I was in the gender and media classes, and in a lot of foundations of feminism and intersectional programs, this created the lens for me of how art can be veered. So during my research project I realized when I saw the specifics of the women in film industry, that this is a horrible situation. Why aren’t people talking about this? And how do we not understand that so many of the people who watch and consume these things, are not being reflected in what they are watching and consuming?

Kim Hoyos

Then things came crashing down. I was nineteen and really upset, and #OscarsSoWhite was not even a thing yet in 2014. So I was like, why isn’t this a thing? Why aren’t we talking about this? My thoughts were, “This is not an industry where I can succeed in, or one that is built for me in any way.” So I just got really upset. It doesn’t make sense that I can’t have a job that I really want to have, and that certain groups of people couldn’t see themselves on-screen. So I kind of just made it that thing I would yell about all the time. I would constantly talk about it, and I would be talking about it very loudly.

My thoughts were, “This is not an industry where I can succeed in, or one that is built for me in any way.” So I just got really upset. It doesn’t make sense that I can’t have a job that I really want to have, and that certain groups of people couldn’t see themselves on-screen. So I kind of just made it that thing I would yell about all the time. I would constantly talk about it, and I would be talking about it very loudly.

MARTIN: That’s great!

HOYOS: In that time in between, I had interned at female empowering publishing startups, marketing groups. I mean I started interning my freshman year, my first semester of college, and I ended up holding like eight or nine media internships before I graduated. And then I got freelance work on top of being a full-time intern. 

MARTIN: Wow, that’s impressive.

Girl Power Film & Media Summit 2018

HOYOS: Yeah, The Light Leaks, it was not anything overnight. By the time I started The Light Leaks I was interning at [The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy] Fallon, so it wasn’t an opportune time to throw myself in to something, but I felt it was right. At the time I met some friends who were working at Instagram in the city, and we were just talking, and they were like, “Wow, you should really find some kind of platform to talk about and do all of this.” So I was like, “I guess so, we’ll see.” Because whatever I do, I need to make it perfect, because I don’t want to put time, money, and energy into something that is not going to make sense to other people. That’s just not how I enjoy working at all. It just has to be very, very good; if not, then there is no point in doing it, because a million people are putting good things out there, you know?

THE LIGHT LEAKS’ MISSION

MARTIN: Could you expand on what The Light Leaks is, like who gravitates to the site, and who is the site for?

HOYOS: The Light Leaks is an editorial platform to support the education empowerment of the female agenda for female filmmakers. So that’s been the theme through and through, and it’s been great. Within that statement, allows for flexibility. I never thought we would do offline events through the next year. But next thing I knew, we did a lot of offline events within the first year; next thing I knew, I had already done a workshop, an entire film showcase.

So reiterate, The Light Leaks hosts offline events that creates organic networking opportunities; we provide creative collaboration opportunities between creators of all ages and identities. It focuses on highlighting and establishing women and GNC filmmakers into the editorial side, but it also gives a platform for these filmmakers who want to get a byline and test out their writing skills, which all deal with the intersection of identity in media and their lives.

[The Light Leaks] focuses on highlighting and establishing women and GNC filmmakers into the editorial side, but it also gives a platform for these filmmakers who want to get a byline and test out their writing skills, which all deal with the intersection of identity in media and their lives.

THE LANDSCAPE

MARTIN: But what are your thoughts on the landscape of the industry today?

Kimberly Hoyos speaking at a TLL event.

HOYOS: I think the landscape is way too white. And when it is focused on people of color, it’s focused on lighter skin Latinas, like Gina Rodriguez or Eva Longoria. My intern just wrote a great piece about Asian representation in the media. She is Filipino and I just never thought about this—she talks a lot about the yellow washing of Asian identity. It’s just like one POV, it’s Japanese or Chinese, and that’s it. It’s so limiting away from East-Asian Americans from where she’s from, and she’s from the Philippines. I mean, what is that? Any step forward is great, but it has to be very thoughtful steps as well.

Detectives Santiago (Melissa Fumero, left) and Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) in “Brooklyn 99.” ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: John Fleenor/FOX

I also think the goal is inclusion, which is what diversity is. Like diversity is the default of what is already happening. So it’s talking about infusing in those storylines within everyday film or media. Both “Superstore” and “Brooklyn 99” do a great job of that. They have two Latinas on a sitcom on a cable network. That’s never been seen before. That’s not a fact, but it’s a rarity.

There’s actually a good story about [actors Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero] where after Melissa got hired, Stephanie did not think she would get hired. She thought there’s no way they would hire two Latinas for the same comedy show. And it’s beautiful because they are not related, they are not cousins. … A lot of things are being pushed and getting there, but I feel the premium cable networks are getting it way better.

There’s actually a good story about [actors Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero] where after Melissa got hired, Stephanie did not think she would get hired. She thought there’s no way they would hire two Latinas for the same comedy show. And it’s beautiful because they are not related, they are not cousins. There’s things like that where diversity is inclusion versus diversity as diversity. That’s great, but both are very digestible.

A lot of things are being pushed and getting there, but I feel the premium cable networks are getting it way better.

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