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Alumna (‘18) wins ‘Best Documentary’ film award

Sep 23, 2019

The awards continue rolling in for filmmaker Chan’Cellore Makanjuola (BA Mass Communications 2018), who produced a critically acclaimed documentary during her senior year at Our Lady of the Lake University.

The film “Mr. Zoot Suit,” starring OLLU Housekeeping Supervisor Moses Porras, won “Best Documentary Short” at the South Texas International Film Festival on Sept. 7 in Edinburg. On the same day, “Mr. Zoot Suit” was screened at a festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“I was not expecting to win anything,” said Makanjuola, who could not attend the festival due to her graduate studies at the University of California (UC)-Berkeley. “So I was surprised when I got a call from Moses and his wife, Rose Mary, saying we won for Best Documentary Short. The fact that ‘Mr. Zoot Suit’ was screening in two different states during the same weekend was surreal.”

The film tells the story of Porras, a gifted performer in his youth in California. After putting his dreams on hold, Porras followed his passion to pursue dancing and educating others about the history of the Zoot Suit – while working and completing a degree at OLLU. 

“The support for our film has been amazing,” Makanjuola said. “And I’m glad that more people are getting the opportunity to see Moses and hear his story.”

Since its San Antonio Film Festival debut at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in 2018, “Mr. Zoot Suit” has won multiple awards. They include: “The Gold Hattie Award” for “Best Documentary Short Film” at the Anaheim Film Fest in September; “Best Student Film” in July at the CineOdyssey Film Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina; and honorable mention in February at the “Festival de Cine Latino Americano” in Denton.

“We’ve gotten into 11 festivals so far,” Makanjuola said. “And I’m honored by the awards our film is receiving. This is Moses’ time to shine. And I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.”

Since completing her degree at OLLU, Makanjuola has freelanced on film projects in the Dallas area, her hometown. She is completing a short promotional video for OLLU’s Mission and Ministry Division while pursuing a Master of Journalism degree with a focus on documentary filmmaking at the prestigious Graduate School of Journalism at UC-Berkeley.