In Tow is the 2021 Austin Film Society Grant for Shorts Projects winner and the MPS Camera and Lighting Services Austin Award winner. The screenplay was a finalist in the 2019 Tribeca Chanel Through Her Lens competition and runner-up at the 2020 New Orleans Film Festival South Pitch. Sharon Arteaga’s Texas-produced short film In Tow has its hometown premiere this month at the 30th annual Austin Film Festival (AFF). The film was nominated for a Narrative Short Jury Award at the Oscar-qualifying film festival and the world’s largest screenwriters conference.
Arteaga released the following statement: “Playing at the Austin Film Festival has been a dream! I’ve only attended as an audience member and gained so much out of the festival from that angle. I’m excited to discover what there is to gain in being a filmmaker in attendance and am excited that our local base of cast, crew, and supporters get to see what they made possible finally.”
The 21-minute action-adventure dramedy, starring local Latina actors Katy Atkinson and Sandy Avila, occurs during a senior cheerleader’s homecoming. Sheila (Atkinson) is a self-involved teen on her way to the game when she discovers her mobile home is being towed away with her and her overworked mother (Avila) inside. The film explores fluctuating mother-daughter dynamics and the tense divide that often forms between first-generation kids and their immigrant parents.
In a release, director Sharon Arteaga stated, “I wrote IN TOW to unpack many unprocessed emotions about losing my home several times, both in its physical and metaphorical sense. I wanted to explore the ups and downs of parent-child relationships and financial instability through action, humor, and drama. ” She continued, “I like to process my feelings through a playful and personal lens that centers Texas and Latinas while being relatable globally.”
In Tow is produced by Texas-based filmmakers Chelsea Hernandez (Building the American Dream SXSW 2019, and Breaking the News, PBS) and Sommer Garcia Saqr (2022 New Orleans Film Society Southern Producers Lab Fellow). The film is an independent production that received support from the New Orleans Film Society, the Austin Film Society, the Santa Fe Film Institute, the City of Austin, the Mexican American Cultural Education Foundation, The Bear, Uptilt Film Festival and is fiscally sponsored by Film Independent.
The cast and crew will attend the screenings on October 27 and 31 in the Rollins Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Audiences are invited to wear homecoming mums, a Texas tradition in which students wear ornate ribbons in team spirit for their school’s homecoming football game.
Arteaga stated in the release: “I’m so proud of my team and how all departments of our crew were essential to bringing to life the story that I wrote onto the page. It was a dance where everyone – special effects, stunts, performers, our sound and camera team, and more – were essential to selling the fact that we’re in a moving home while major life shifts are happening inside it. To have our homecoming premiere at the Austin Film Festival, where strong storytelling is lauded, is such a win for our whole team of creative and technical storytellers!”
The award-winning short film IN TOW is premiering at the 30th annual Austin Film Festival on Friday, 10/27, at 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday, 10/31, at 4:15 p.m., both screenings at The Rollins Theater.
About Sharon Arteaga
Sharon Arteaga is a writer/director who convinced her mom to buy her a video camera instead of a Quinceañera. A first-generation Mexican-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, Arteaga’s work playfully navigates themes of generational, linguistic, and cultural differences between people. Arteaga’s award-winning short films include the 2021 HBO Latinx Short Film Competition Winner, “When You Clean a Stranger’s Home,” now streaming on Max. She is a Warner Bros. Discovery 150 Artist for a feature anthology film in development. Arteaga was a 2019 Tribeca Chanel Through Her Lens finalist for her short screenplay In Tow, which also won runner-up at the 2020 New Orleans Film Festival South Pitch. Now based in Austin, Texas, Arteaga is developing her first feature film called Ice Cream, You Scream.
Source: Sharon Arteaga, Chelsea Hernandez