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Directing Change Student Film Contest Statewide Winners Announced

Youth Film Contest Raises Awareness About Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Directing Change Program & Film Contest, a statewide mental health promotion and suicide prevention program for youth, announced the winners of its eighth annual program at an awards ceremony broadcast on Facebook Live on Tuesday, May 19.

As part of Each Mind Matters, California’s Mental Health Movement, The Directing Change Program & Film Contest engages students and young people throughout California to learn about the topics of suicide prevention and mental health by creating short films that are used to support awareness, education and advocacy efforts on these topics. The program is one of many initiatives that are part of Each Mind Matters’ comprehensive statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students.

The program received 1,080 films created by 3,475 youth from 190 schools and community-based organizations from throughout the state. Seventy-four winners were awarded honors for 30- and 60-second films in categories including: suicide prevention, mental health matters, animated shorts with a focus on suicide prevention, "through the lens of culture" which encouraged participants to create a film in a non-English language and/or with focus about how different cultures view mental health and suicide prevention, and SanaMente for Spanish-language films to promote mental health in the Latinx community. The program also has a category for middle school-aged youth entitled "walk in our shoes."

Each year the awards ceremony also celebrates the outstanding achievement of film and television directors, producers and actors who serve as role models by using their platform to draw attention to mental health. This year’s recipient was the CW’s ‘All American’ which was recognized for its storylines about the character Olivia Baker’s struggle with addiction and journey of recovery and character Layla Keating’s experience with depression and suicidal ideation.

To view the films and for a complete list of statewide and regional winners, honorable mentions and special recognitions, visit directingchangeca.org. The statewide first, second, and third-place winners of the 2020 Directing Change Film Contest are as follows:

2020 Directing Change Film Contest Statewide Winners

Mental Health Matters

First Place: "Conflicting Currents"
San Bernardino County
Upland High School
Filmmakers: Jeremiah Andrade, Josh McConnell, Gavin DeLacruz and Luciano Aldana
Advisor: James Miura

Second Place: "Baggage"
Orange County
Canyon High School
Filmmakers: Rachael Pollak, Mary Lee, Stella Spindler, Xander Lahti, Keira Feng and Madeline Bills
Advisor: Alex Graham

Third Place: "Hashiru"
Los Angeles County
Warren High School
Filmmakers: Andrew Stratton, Ruben Mendoza and Daniel Sanchez
Advisor: Jared Nelson

Suicide Prevention

First Place: "Our Battle"
Butte County
Pleasant Valley High School
Filmmakers: Vincent Zachary Muñoz and Jesus Chavez-Hernandez
Advisor: Michael Peck

Second Place: "Moving Too Fast"
Riverside County
Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Filmmakers: Ingrid Peirce, Matthew Marcade, Gabriela Mora and Alyssa Watson
Advisor: Jacob Fuller

Third Place: "The Signs"
San Mateo County
Burlingame High School
Filmmakers: Corbin Rubero and Will Graczewski
Advisor: Steve Erle

Through the Lens of Culture – Suicide Prevention

First Place: "Our Story"
San Bernardino County
Summit High School
Filmmakers: Nicole Quinonez-Frias
Advisor: Artie Casas
Language: Spanish with English subtitles

Second Place: "Family"
Alameda County
Irvington High School
Filmmakers: Kexin Li and Vivian Liu
Advisor: Shiloh Burton
Language: Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles

Third Place: "Love Wins"
Fresno County
Clovis East High School
Filmmakers: Graciela Vargas
Advisor: Derrick Davis

Through the Lens of Culture – Mental Health Matters

First Place: "You are You"
Sacramento County
Franklin High School
Filmmakers: Benjamin Wong, Raymond Wang, Emily Cho and Michelle Escudero
Advisor: Brad Clark
Language: Various Asian languages with English subtitles

Second Place (TIED): "Los Hombres No Lloran"
San Bernardino County
Healthy RC Youth Leaders
Filmmakers: Michael Alonso, Chase Collins, Takbir Rahman, Wyatt Herrold, Ryan Fulton, Zonyea Redd, Caterina Marji, Natalie Masachi, Taylor Villanueva and Karla Villanueva
Advisor: Joanna Marrufo
Language: Spanish with English subtitles

Second Place (TIED): "El Silencio Interior"
Los Angeles County
Warren High School
Filmmakers: Wendy Obispo and Leslie Gomez
Advisor: Jared Nelson
Language: Spanish with English subtitles

Third Place (TIED): "I Want You To Know That…"
Riverside County
Murrieta Valley High School
Filmmakers: Eve Liu, Jasmine Pan and Olivia Feng
Advisor: Ella Harrison

Third Place (TIED): "We Don’t Do That"
Solano County
Vanden High School
Filmmakers: Olivia Bishop
Advisor: Brent Manuel

SanaMente

First Place: "Del Barrio"
Tri-City (Los Angeles County)
The School of Arts And Enterprise
Filmmaker: Jesse Marquez Jr., Dario Alatorre, Julian Valdez, and Kenny Marquez
Advisor: Mr. Ryan Metzler
Language: Spanish with English subtitles

Second Place: "Preguntas"
Los Angeles County
Clark Magnet High School
Filmmakers: Sophie Peineke, Parvaneh Motallebi, and Anne Reinhard
Advisor: Joshua Bishop
Language: Spanish with English subtitles

Third Place: "Mi Angelito"
Riverside County
Murrieta Valley High School
Filmmakers: Samantha Duarte, Aidan Duarte, and Marisol Garcia
Advisor: Ella Harrison
Language: Spanish with English subtitles

Animated Short

First Place: "Audience of One"
Orange County
La Quinta High School Creative Writing
Filmmaker: Keanu Hua, Brian Ly, Kayla Nguyen and Alexa Wright
Advisor: Amanda LaPera

Second Place: "Notice The Signs"
San Bernardino County
Upland High School
Filmmaker: Sarah Chu
Advisor: James Miura

Third Place (TIED): "Fill the Bucket!"
Alameda County
Irvington High School
Filmmakers: Alisha Shah
Advisor: Shiloh Burton

Third Place (TIED): "Flying in Color"
Alameda County
Irvington High School
Filmmaker: Grace W. Yin
Advisor: Shiloh Burton

Walk in Our Shoes – The Superhero in Each of Us

First Place: "Windows"
San Diego County
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Filmmakers: Brandon Burton, Katee Martinez, Karla Perez and Jacqueline Ortega
Advisor: Beth Duncan

Second Place: "Not What It Seems"
Los Angeles County
Palms Middle School
Filmmakers: Emma Walter, Cora Iiams, Saleida Miguez, and Luna Wicks
Advisor: Mrs. Irene Clark

Third Place: "Sympathetic Steps"
San Diego County
Hawking STEAM Charter School 2
Filmmakers: Daniel Quemado, Mikey Soto, Uriel Esquier, Oscar Dominguez, Aaron Marciel, Joshua Ducharme and Liliana Moreno
Advisor: Joshua Ducharme

Walk in Our Shoes – What is Mental Health

First Place: "Make Your Mark"
Riverside County
David A Brown Middle School
Filmmakers: Jazmine Carillo, Natasha Powers, Jocelyn Pacheco, Tiffany Bravo, Casandra Viscarra and Crista Kerr
Advisor: Amy Pitotti

Second Place: "Saving a Friend"
Tri-City (Los Angeles County)
Mountain View Elementary School
Filmmakers: Alex Gonzales, Danny Vu, Julian Valverde and Paul Rosa
Advisor: Jacqueline McElvy

Third Place: "My Life"
Riverside County
Mountain View Middle School
Filmmakers: Ruben Martinez
Advisor: Noal Garrett

Walk in Our Shoes – Words Matter

First Place: "Invisible"
San Diego County
Hawking STEAM Charter School 2
Filmmakers: Aleksandra Orozovich, Clarissa Martinez, Jael Perez, Victor Von-Eiff, Damian Cruz and Yaretzy Alvarez
Advisor: Joshua Ducharme

Second Place: "The Effect of Words"
Tulare County
Washington Elementary
Filmmakers: Joseph Alvarez, Alex, Hector, Daddy Kimbell and Xelha
Advisor: Brandon Sherrill

Third Place: "The Power of Words"
Tri-City (Los Angeles County)
Marshall Middle School
Filmmakers: Rena Ko, Jannell Gonzalez, Jannese Gonzalez, Vincent Cruz, Atiqa Shafiq and Estefany Romero
Advisor: Nicole Soussens

About Directing Change

The Directing Change Program & Film Contest is part of Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement. The program offers young people the exciting opportunity to participate in the movement by creating 60-second films about suicide prevention and mental health that are used to support awareness, education and advocacy efforts on these topics. Learning objectives surrounding mental health and suicide prevention are integrated into the submission categories of the film contest, giving young people the opportunity to critically explore these topics. Program participants - whether they are making a film, acting as an adult advisor, or judging the films - are exposed to appropriate messaging about these topics, warning signs, how to appropriately respond to someone in distress, where to seek help, as well as how to stand up for others who are experiencing a mental health challenge. In addition, schools and organizations are offered free prevention programs and educational resources. For more information visit www.directingchange.org

About the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA)

CalMHSA is a partnership of California counties working together to prevent mental illness and promote mental health by implementing Prevention and Early Intervention programs that are a critical part of the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63). The Directing Change Program & Student Film Contest is one of numerous programs that are part of comprehensive statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. For more information, visit www.calmhsa.org.

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Contacts

Stan Collins, 619-518-2412
Stan@suicideispreventable.org