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Artist Of The Month: Valeria Itzel Caratachea

“With filmmaking I have the freedom and ability to make things come alive.” Says Santa Barbara High School’s Artist of the Month, Valeria Itzel Caratachea. Valeria is a senior here at SBHS and has been a part of the Multimedia Arts and Design Academy (MAD) since her freshman year. Initially being drawn to cameras as a child, she eventually developed her passion for filmmaking. 

Valeria was born and raised in Santa Barbara and her interest in filmmaking began at the age of four when she first discovered a camera. Joining MAD her freshman year kindled her main interest in the film industry. When asked why she decided to join MAD she expressed, “I have always loved film and I thought it would be fun to pursue that in high school and be a part of a creative community. I wanted to explore the possibilities of what my passion for film has to offer.” Valeria credits the teachers in MAD for providing her with the tools and skills needed to pursue her love for film.

Valeria’s creative work builds off of her own lived experiences and the inspiring creations of fellow passionate film makers. She uses cinematography as a way to articulate her feelings and emotions while simultaneously exploring the possibilities of her passion. Valeria currently focuses on short films and music videos. “My favorite film is the first professional film I ever created, titled Capitan.” She then explained, “Although it wasn’t the best cinematically, it inspired a lot of the films I created after that.” Capitan is a music video featuring scenic views of the Santa Barbara coast and embodies Valeria’s vision of the world through her eyes. 

Some of Valeria’s favorite directors include Mike Mills and Greta Gerwig. “Their cinematic styles and realism are what stick out to me the most.” Her favorite film is 20th Century Women by Mike Mills which features a coming of age story set in Santa Barbara, 1979. Valeria is currently working on her MAD final which involves creating a three to five minute short film and is excited to participate in the upcoming MAD Film Festival. When asked where she sees herself in the future of filmmaking she responded, “I want to end up working for A24. My goal is to be a director but I am also open to anything filmmaking has to offer.” 


  • Hana Sutherland

    Hana Sutherland is a senior at Santa Barbara High School. Hana decided to write for The Forge because she has always found journalism interesting and wanted to try it out. In addition to writing for The Forge Hana enjoys hiking, reading, swimming, and seeing live music.

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