Featuring Alumni- Anna Grajales

2011 grad now shapes her world behind a lens


Jordyn Guzman, News Editor

Screentime, bright lights and immense fame are often the only perceptions of the film industry.Though this may be somewhat true considering the stereotype of Hollywood and prestigious award ceremonies, Anna Grajales, a Cinco Ranch High School alumnus, and now filmmaker, is using her position in the industry to inspire individuals and make a lasting impact on her viewers while leaving the bright lights behind.

“One thing all my films have in common is that they deal with how we understand our lives and the world around us,” Grajales said, “One of my documentary shorts, ‘Just Like You’ is about the discrimination people with special needs face in their everyday life from the perspective of their mother. My feature film is about four soon-to-be college graduates and how they search for purpose in their lives, all through the angle of comedy. I’m very interested in the female perspective and the way it becomes universal.”

One of Grajales’ goals is to ensure betterment of not only immediate and local issues, but expand her reach globally through the Global Shapers Initiative. Grajales, along with a community of other members, dedicate their time and effort to see through with improvement in the world.

“Born out of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community is a network of inspiring young people under the age of 30 working together to address local, regional and global challenges,” Grajales said, “The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, committed to improving the state of the world.”

Grajales’s passion for connecting with others began when she attended Cinco. She dabbled in theater and the environmental club, was active in debate club, served as the Varsity Mascot in her senior year and held the position of News Editor for the County Line. Her love for filmmaking did not really develop in high school; It began when she was a freshman in college.

“To those thinking about film as a career path, don’t go to film school,” Grajales said, “I went to business school and I’ve noticed that it gives me an advantage over those who only went to film school mainly because I know how to sell my ideas. The technicalities of the job you can learn from experience but in this industry, a good story is useless unless you know how to sell it. Also, become an avid movie watcher, especially of those you wouldn’t normally pick. If you can, attend film festivals and network with the local film community. You don’t need a degree to help in a set.”

Grajales pushed herself through a lot of reinvention and decision making to get to the point she is at now. She not only switched her major, she switched schools entirely and eventually, even moved to Mexico to pursue her dreams there. She believes individuals have as many opportunities to reinvent themselves and start over as they would like. 

“See your time at Cinco as a free pass to self-discovery,” Grajales said. “Get involved in extracurriculars, not because it ‘looks good on college applications,’ but because of what you could learn about yourself. Make a fool of yourself, that’s what high school is for. Ask as many questions as you can, really… and read ALL the novels in your English classes. As one of my favorite screenwriters, Guillermo Arriaga, once said, ‘Nothing happens to us if we do not read García Márquez, Faulkner, Shakespeare, Rulfo. The problem is if we read them: everything happens to us.’”