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Roy (RJ) Davila Jr.’s

For Roy (RJ) Davila Jr.’s (Film & Video, 2022) life is a drag—in the very best way. 

Davila always wanted to create the kind of art that could connect with people. Growing up in Raymondville, a small town in south Texas, Davila was a fan of horror flicks and developed a fascination with creating special effects-style makeup. At Columbus College of Art & Design, he found the opportunity to explore his craft as a filmmaker and as a makeup artist. As a student, Davila created a documentary about a drag performer (Saranade) and in December 2019, he decided to do a digital drag performance for one of his class finals.

In the years since, Davila has continued to find ways to combine his talents in makeup, filmmaking, and performance, and in June 2022, he received attention from (614) Magazine for his work as Notre Dom, an alternative drag personality inspired by 1970s-era horror films and his Mexican-American heritage. 

But that’s not all. Far from it. 

Davila lands prestigious mentorship

Prior to graduating, Davila was one of 20 students nationwide selected for the Gotham EDU Film and Media Career Development Program for 2022. The six-week mentorship program is intended to help emerging film and media professionals gain a deeper understanding of the industries and the type of careers available to them.

Davila, who worked for three years in the CCAD Student Agency, received the Questlove Gotham EDU Scholarship, supported by iHeartMedia. The scholarship enables BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) undergraduate students with an interest in storytelling through audio to attend the Career Development Program tuition-free. 

CCAD students’ work heads to German film festival

CCAD students work

Davila and several other CCAD students were invited to screen their work at the fourth Amplifier Film Festival in June 2022 in Dresden, Germany. In addition to the screening of Davila’s Santificado, the festival included work by:

  • Gwenth Keith (Illustration, 2023), Gravy Taxi
  • Rin Navarro (Film & Video, 2024), The Ritual
  • Graham Squire (Animation, 2022), Hands

What’s next for Davila? Follow his film account on Instagram here, and his drag account here. Read more about the Gotham EDU Film and Media Career Development Program in Deadline.

Check out the interview with Davila in (614)’s June 2022 Pride issue—the story features portraits by another CCAD grad, Sarah Pfeifer (Photography, 2020). Davila’s interview begins on page 63.