Maria Servellón is an adjunct professor at the College of Professional Studies at the Northeastern University. She believes that living with multiple identities, whether it is race, gender, religion, culture, or sexual orientation, can be very complicated. Her latest fictional short film, Hyphen, explores what it means growing up as a first-generation Salvadoran-American and juggling different identities as a Latino artist in Boston. Servellón describes it as “living in the hyphen”.
As a graduate student at Emerson College, she started asking others about their experiences with juggling their identities. These stories then turned into a small collection. Thus, she decided to fuse the stories into a narrative that focused on the shared experience of growing up in Boston as a Latino artist. About 10 months later, she came up with Hyphen, a realistic short film. It has four fictional characters who embark on a journey of self-discovery that transcends cultural and gender expectations.
The film made its public debut at the Central American International Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2018. It has been showcased at seven other film festivals, from New York and Boston to Manchester, United Kingdom, and most recently, Oaxaca Film Fest in Mexico. It received praise from celebrities such as America Ferrara, Anjelah Johnson, and Perez Hilton. Servellón has earned recognition from local publications, such as winning the El Mundo, Boston’s 2018 Latino 30 Under 30 award, and being a finalist for the New England Film Star award.
“As a creative, it has motivated me to keep doing what I’m doing. While it is great to be noticed, I became an archivist of stories in a way while working on Hyphen. This lit a fire under me to continue working in film making”, Servellón says.
She is now laying the groundwork for her next film, Phantasma, a fictional short film which will revolve around themes of escapism and identity.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman