–Who is Nahyr Galaz Ruiz?
I am a multi-hyphenate filmmaker whose short films and scripts have been steadily causing ripples in the festival circuit. I am known for writing characters who reflect the duality in my bi-cultural experience as a Latina raised in sunny San Diego, interwoven with dramatic storylines pertaining to impossible love or family dynamics. I believe that art is the vehicle by which we convey truth and it is my mission to convey truth as I see it through my films and scripts.
My debut feature screenplay, Dancing with Plato, achieved recognition at numerous film festivals including “Best Drama Screenplay,” “Best First Time Screenwriter,” and “Best Screenplay.” Additionally, I have received numerous awards including “Best Actress in Short,” “Best Director,” “Best First Time Director,” and “Best Student Short,” for my debut short film Everything I Never Said. My sophomore short film, El Encuentro, received “Best Original Story,” “Best Actress,” “Best Actor,” and “Best Script in Short.” My most recent film, Platonic Love, was recently submitted for this year’s round of film festivals and has already received awards for “Best Actress,” “Best Supporting Actor,” and “Best Supporting Actress.” It has also been nominated for “Best Original Score,” “Best Original Music,” and “Best Director.”
I am the recipient of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers’ Emerging Content Creators Scholarship for two consecutive years and have been one of nine writers selected for the Script Development program at the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto 2022 and 2023.
In addition to being a filmmaker, I am also a dance educator and choreographer, and advocate of dance education. It is my calling to use storytelling and filmmaking to elevate Latinx voices and representation in every facet of the industry.
-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I’ve always had a heart for storytelling and I believe I was sort of born a director. When I was little, I would rewrite fairytales with my own spin on them, especially if I didn’t find the ending to my satisfaction. My grandmother worked for a daycare facility and I would help manage the children by organizing everyone into elaborate “productions” of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. As I got older and I found dance, I wasn’t satisfied with simply dancing, I wanted to create my own dances. So I began experimenting with choreography as a teenager. Eventually, that led me to found a dance company and I took that experience to film. Storytelling and directing to serve the story have always been at the forefront of my artistic pursuits.
-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?
Absolutely. I believe with cinema we have a unique medium through which we can communicate with our audience. Because cinema can entertain and most people go to see films to escape, be entertained, or feel something; our audience places themselves in our hands completely open to receive. Because of this, cinema has the ability to stir emotions in the viewer, to spark thought, to catalyze a more profound relationship with the message the filmmaker wants to express. That message, that thought, that emotion; those stay with the audience and can change society. As a filmmaker, I feel the weight of that responsibility.
–What would you change in the world?
I would make the world a kinder place. I wish for a world in which we recognize our common humanity over our differences; where the lines and borders we’ve drawn become obsolete because we recognize our shared humanity and so we want to lift each other up.I often look at how children play in a park; it doesn’t matter whether they know each other or not; they just play together, problem-solve together, and work toward something together… without ego. I wish as adults we could do that. I wish we were kinder to each other.
-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?
I don’t know that I can accurately predict where the film industry is headed in the next 100 years. What I do know is that we’re currently at a crossroads in film. Especially in mainstream Hollywood; there is a shift happening. In regards to representation and inclusivity in film, while we have a long way to go, it is exciting to see more of ourselves on the screen. I’m excited to see more of my gente represented on screen; to see our stories told. To see more BIPOC people, more LGBTQIA people, more talent over 40 represented… Those stories matter. To see the industry making strides to get these stories out in the world; stories that reflect the diversity that lives in society…. that matters. Representation matters. So, I hope that these strides mean the film industry will grow to a place where inclusivity and positive representation of marginalized communities are just a given in the next 100 years!