Hollywood, California, U.S.A.- “Yochi,” a short film written and directed by award-winning New Mexico filmmaker, Ilana Lapid, is one of ten films selected for “SHORT FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD,” a week-long Oscar-qualifying theatrical run presented by ShortsTV. After this theatrical run, “Yochi” will be qualified to submit to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in consideration (alongside approximately 135 other films from around the world) for a 2018 nomination in the Live Action Short Film category.

“This will make “Yochi” the first Belizean short-film qualified to submit for consideration for an Academy Award,” said “Yochi” producer and Belizean filmmaker, Daniel Velazquez. “Yochi” is the story of a 9-year-old selectively mute Mayan boy who guards a nest of endangered Yellow-Headed Parrots in Belize’s pine savannah. When his beloved older brother, Itza, returns from the city, Yochi learns that he’s in debt and has turned to poaching – setting the brothers on a collision course. The film uses four languages found in Belize - Yucatec Mayan, Creole, English, and Spanish - and is subtitled in English.

Yochi” was filmed in the jungle and pine savannah of western Belize by cinematographer Robert Dugan and edited by David Morales. Featuring a full Belizean cast of first time actors, “Yochi” stars Evan Martinez and Kerry Johan Landero, who plays the lead, Yochi. Made with a majority Belizean crew, the film is a US- Belizean co-production between Yochi Film LLC and YoungStarr Entertainment.

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