Take Two! McDonald’s Spotlight Dorado Short Film Contest Returns to Help Drive Inclusivity in Film and Pave the Way for New Latino Storytellers

Actor and recording artist Anthony Ramos sitting in a chair in front of cameras

March 14, 2023

Actor and recording artist Anthony Ramos joins McDonald’s at SXSW Film & TV Festival to kick off this year's program, which offers mentorship opportunities and a $75,000 production budget for emerging Latino filmmakers. Submissions are now open at www.spotlightdorado.com

(CHICAGO–March 14, 2023) McDonald’s USA continues to pave the way for Latinos on the golden screen with the return of Spotlight Dorado. The short film contest is one of the ways in which the Golden Arches aims to use its scale to empower and amplify the voices of Latino talent, especially in areas where the community is underrepresented.

This year, McDonald’s is casting Anthony Ramos, Grammy®-winning artist, Golden Globe®  and Emmy® nominated actor, to take on a new role as a program mentor, joining a roster of film industry leaders including the award-winning writer, producer, director and actress, Gloria Calderón Kellett. Together, they will work to empower and guide three new Spotlight Dorado finalists as they go through the filmmaking process. The emerging filmmakers will also be awarded a production budget of $75,000 each to build their stories from the ground up, getting them closer to making their cinematic dreams come true.

“After more than a decade navigating my own career, I’ve seen firsthand how challenging it can be for creatives from underrepresented communities to get the support and resources needed to jumpstart their careers,” said Anthony Ramos, who will soon be seen starring in the next installment of Transformers: Rise of The Beasts, out this June. “Through Spotlight Dorado, McDonald’s is helping drive much-needed change in the industry. I’m so excited to be a Spotlight Dorado partner and help make a difference for Latinos to get their stories funded, produced, and told.”

Today, Latinos make up nearly 20% of the U.S. population and are a driving force in countless industries, including media and entertainment. While Latinos are avid moviegoers (24%)[1], their stories are often overlooked and currently make up only about 1% of those told by Hollywood[2]. Bridging this gap is key to helping shift the narrative about the Latino experience in the U.S., and fostering new voices and perspectives is one of the first steps toward driving industry change.


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Take Two! McDonald’s Spotlight Dorado Short Film Contest

This year’s campaign spot features Jesús Celaya, winner of the 2022 Spotlight Dorado contest for his luchador-inspired short film, “Lucha Noir.

Starting today, all U.S.-based Latino writers, producers, directors, aspiring filmmakers or creatives with a great story to share are invited to submit their screenplays to the Spotlight Dorado short film contest at www.spotlightdorado.com for the chance to be selected as one of three finalists to be awarded $75,000 to produce their films. Submissions are due on April 21, 2023 and are free of charge regardless of age, experience, or professional background.

“McDonald’s has a long history of investing in the diverse communities that it serves, and we’re proud to continue showing up for our Hispanic fans in ways that matter most to them,” said Elizabeth Campbell,  Senior Director Cultural Engagement & Social Media Content, McDonald’s USA. “Spotlight Dorado is an extension of that. We were blown away by the creativity and incredible quality of the short films we received from young filmmakers last year. There’s no shortage of Latino stories to be told, and we’re on the edge of our seats for new stories to come this year!”

To kick off the second year of Spotlight Dorado, the Golden Arches is popping up today at the SXSW Film and TV Festival, one of the ultimate cultural meet-ups for industry professionals and changemakers in the U.S., with an interactive experience that aims to help Latino filmmakers advance their career trajectories. Combined with a thought-provoking panel on navigating today’s entertainment industry, guests will experience a simulation of the twists, turns, and roadblocks often faced by Latinos in film through an engaging maze installation.

Learn more about the Spotlight Dorado short film contest for Latino filmmakers by visiting www.spotlightdorado.com.


About McDonald’s USA

McDonald's has always been committed to the communities it serves, and the people that make up those communities. Spotlight Dorado underscores just one of the steps McDonald’s has taken to help achieve a more equitable and inclusive future for our employees, Franchisees, suppliers, customers, and the communities we serve and foster. Serving more than 14,000 local communities nationwide, McDonald’s wants to use its scale to empower and amplify the voices of Latino talent, especially in areas where they are underrepresented, including film.

Beyond Spotlight Dorado, the Golden Arches has given back and connected with the Hispanic community through initiatives in music, education, and sports, as well as supporting local charities and organizations, that fuel Latino pride and representation.

McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s approximately 13,500 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business owners. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mcdonalds.


About Anthony Ramos

Anthony Ramos is a Grammy®-winning artist, Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominated actor.

Ramos will lead the next installment of THE TRANSFORMERS franchise, “Rise of The Beasts” from Paramount out this June, he also stars in Amblin's upcoming feature film, DISTANT, directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon and recently wrapped production on Marvel's IRON HEART for Disney +, along with Sony’s DUMB MONEY directed by Craig Gillespie.

Ramos is known for inaugurating the dual roles of “John Laurens” and “Philip Hamilton” in the critically acclaimed, TONY Award-winning Broadway musical and feature film, HAMILTON in which he was Emmy nominated.  He went on to star as the lead in Jon M. Chu’s IN THE HEIGHTS which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Film.

As a recording artist, Ramos released his debut album, The Good & The Bad, via Republic Records. The album received extensive critical praise and debuted in the Top 10 on iTunes Pop Albums Chart upon release. Followed by his sophomore album, Love and Lies, leaning into a sensuous R&B sound and provocative lyrics. In 2023 Ramos is set to put out new music embracing his Puerto Rican roots and an expressive personal side of himself that he’s yet to share publicly.

Anthony has been on the cover of THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, as well as TIME Magazine’s “Next Generation of Leaders” cover. Follow him on Instagram and Tiktok.



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