Marlo Custodio possesses a long history of the unique combination of political organizing, filmmaking, and educating youth.
At the age of 16, Custodio began community journalism for a multimedia organization called Silicon Valley De-Bug, a non-profit organization that serves the San Jose community through advocacy, organizing, and media creation. His work would consist of videography highlighting the most marginalized communities – immigrants, youth, the homeless, and those wrongfully accused in the criminal justice system.
At the age of 18, Custodio was in the midst of a highly publicized case against the San Jose Police Department. It was the mistreatment and wealth disparity to afford legal representation that intensified Custodio’s passion which eventually led to his involvement to establishing the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project, a nationally recognized model known in criminal reform. His most memorable work would be mini-documentaries that would reach national attention on families overcoming deportation cases through community support and being the first in the country to create visual mitigation packets for defendants.
Immediately noticed for his technical expertise, political organizing, and storytelling ability, he was then recruited to be involved for De Anza’s Institute of Community & Civic Engagement where he would devote his work for the next 4 years. As student body president, he successfully led initiatives that would support low-income students but he would represent his students greater when he created documentary titled, “Ode to De Anza: Inspiring During Challenging Times” which would be later screened at the White House through Martin Luther King Jr.’s colleague, Harry Boyte.
The National Commission on Asian American & Pacific Islander Research on Education from UCLA took immediate notice of his work and Custodio began to travel the country for his mini documentary, “iCount” a collective of stories of Asian Pacific Americans across the country for the advocacy of the dissaggration of data for Asian Americans in order for critical resources to be allocated to the Asian communities that need it most. His work would be screened at the U.S. Department of Education through the support of President Obama’s White House Initiative of Asian Pacific Americans.
After completing “iCount” he then continued traveling across the east coast to complete a series of documentaries for The Democracy Commitment and the American Democracy Project, organizations that advocated for the mandatory requirement of higher education institutions to require civic engagement in colleges.
Unfortunately, creating politically conscious docs couldn't sustain, a proud thankful son, he serves his mother who has been battling health conditions so as a route to support his mother and younger brother attending college, he began exploring using his craft to shoot commercials for tech companies such as Google, ASUS, and Intel and artists in the music industry.
With a deep commitment for serving youth in his neighborhoods he signed up to be a class instructor through the City of San Jose’s Parks and Recreation Department of Neighborhood Services, where he would launch a program internally called the Underserved and Gifted.
Today, Custodio continues his work for commercials, videos for artists in the music industry, and branding non-profit organizations through multimedia. He is currently the Digital Arts Coordinator for the Underserved and Gifted where he runs 5 studios in the most gang impacted neighborhoods and low-income communities in San Jose to increase the accessibility of technology, improve tech literacy, provide digital art opportunities, and mentor professional development for youth interested in the entertainment industry. In addition, he teaches film and photography for incarcerated youth in detention facilities through the Santa Clara County Board of Education.
Marlo Custodio is the first out of his family to graduate from college, receiving a BA in Politics and Film & Digital Media with a concentration in production.