2021 Award Ceremony

 

The Directing Change Program hosted the 9th annual Awards Ceremony virtually on May 18th at 7 p.m. The live event streamed to hundreds of people as we announced the statewide winners of the 2021 contest and recognized amazing youth and their inspiring films. Youth filmmakers from across California were given awards for their short films to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention in several categories, including Mental Health Matters, Suicide Prevention, Through the Lens of Culture, Walk in Our Shoes, SanaMente, Animated Short, and Hope and Justice.

The annual ceremony also celebrated outstanding achievement by writers, directors, producers and actors of film and television who serve as role models to the aspiring youth filmmakers in the program by using their platform to draw attention to mental health. The Award Ceremony recognized the NBC show This Is Us with the 2021 Award for a TV Show with Outstanding Messaging around Mental Health. Actor and Producer Sterling K. Brown graciously accepted the award on behalf of the show and his team, saying, “I am so honored to receive this award because only by people seeing themselves on screen, not in a sensationalized way but in a realistic way, can they say there’s nothing wrong with me. I am okay just the way that I am and my asking for help is not an admission of weakness, it is the ultimate strength to know that I need help, and it takes courage to ask for it.”

The ceremony was also honored to be joined by Screenwriter Nick Naveda and Director/Producer Thor Freudenthal, who created the film Words on Bathroom Walls, which received the 2021 Award for a Film with Outstanding Messaging around Mental Health. Nick shared, “My hope is that when the story gets told about young adult films of this era, ours is one that did the work to expand representation. This is just one story and there are so many varied experiences to be conveyed. I encourage all of you to continue telling your stories and helping each other tell your stories.” Thor graciously accepted the award on behalf of the film’s cast and crew, saying, “To be included in the ceremony that honors young burgeoning filmmakers such as yourselves who do great work is inspiring. I want to congratulate all of you who are using this art form to give a voice to those that experience mental illness, because by doing that you are not only creating great art, you are also fighting stigma and appealing to an audience’s empathy. The beautiful thing about films is they are such a powerful engine of empathy. Films unlike any other medium let us experience life through someone else’s eyes. This I think is the prime reason we tell stories to begin with – it’s to see ourselves in others and that is what has guided us, our actors, producers and crew. We all wanted to tell a story about someone – not about what makes someone with schizophrenia different but what makes them relatable.”

To watch the recorded awards ceremony, please click here: https://www.facebook.com/DirectingChangeCA/videos/140651478082505

This year, from across the state, Directing Change received 974 films from 136 schools and community-based organizations, representing 23 counties and Tri City and 1,817 youth. Entries were judged by nearly 300 advocates and professionals in mental health and suicide prevention, members of the media, and television and film professionals.

As a non profit organization Directing Change needs your support to keep this program going!  Please consider a donation.

To view films and for a complete list of statewide and regional winners, honorable mentions and special recognitions, visit www.directingchangeca.org/films.

Announcing our 2021 People’s Choice Winners! Thanks to everyone who voted this year!

2021 People’s Choice – Mental Health Matters

“The Cycle That Can Be Stopped”
Alameda County
Irvington High School
Filmmaker: Lalitha Kalle
Advisor: Shiloh Burton
View & Download

2021 People’s Choice – Suicide Prevention

“I’m Fine”
Los Angeles County
John F. Kennedy Architecture/Digital Design/Filmmaking Magnet High School
Filmmakers: Jasmine Kohlbrenner and Sabrina Rae Gonzales
Advisor: Aaron Lemos
View & Download

Congratulations to our statewide winners! View and download their films below:

Suicide Prevention

First Place: “Dandelion”
Los Angeles County
Hilda Solis Learning Academy
Filmmakers: Justin Toyoshiba, Liliana Barojas, and Gessell Espinosa
Advisor: James Ng
View & Download

Second Place: “I Am Not Alone”
Tri-City (Los Angeles County)
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Filmmaker: Wendy Obispo
Advisor: Elizabeth Harwell
View & Download

Third Place: “Quaranteens”
Orange County
Woodbridge High School
Filmmakers: Daisy Bateman, Brooke Brody, Ashna Parekh, and Katie Kim
Advisor: Megan Humphreys
View & Download

Mental Health Matters

First Place: “Another Light”
Riverside County
Murrieta Mesa High School
Filmmakers: Lizzie Waddleton and Leyna Vo
Advisor: Timeree Kristell
View & Download

Second Place: “Courage”
Sacramento County
Franklin High School
Filmmaker: Allison Labucay
Advisor: Brad Clark
View & Download

Third Place: “Bloom”
Orange County
Portola High School
Filmmakers: Grace Shao, Shailee Sankhala, Yinzhi Pan, Raksha Rajeshmohan, Cecilia Mou, Rachel Shim, Megan Sha, Anne Wu, and May Essman
Advisor: Ryan Itchon
View & Download

Through the Lens of Culture

First Place: “Plus Que Forte”
Riverside County
Murrieta Valley High School
Filmmaker: Christina Batte
Advisor: Ella Harrison
View & Download

Second Place (tied): “The Mental Blanket”
Orange County
Brea Olinda High School
Filmmakers: Nemo Luong, Kim Tong, and Mia Luong
Advisor: Bill Mings
View & Download

Second Place (tied): Legacy
Alameda County
Irvington High School
Filmmakers: TingYi Wu, Evan Shih, and Colin Zhao
Advisor: Shiloh Burton
View & Download

Third Place: “Arab Hearts-Mental Health PSA”
Los Angeles County
Granada Hills Charter High School
Filmmaker: Borhan Safaei
Advisor: Cindy Quintana
View & Download

Animated Short

First Place: “Trapped”
Sacramento County
Franklin High School
Filmmaker: Jaxon Ruiz
Advisor: Brad Clark
View & Download

Second Place: “Endless Space”
Alameda County
Irvington High School
Filmmakers: Naomi Solnick, Kyal Moe, and Riya MulchandaniAdvisor: Shiloh Burton
View & Download

Third Place (TIED): “True Colors”
Los Angeles County
Hilda Solis Learning Academy
Filmmakers: Justin Toyoshiba, Kailah Solis, Ruben Ramirez, Angela Cardona, Liliana Barojas, Ally Morales, Gessell Espinosa, Jasmine Brijido, Manuel Rangel, and Nicholas Castillo
Advisor: James Ng
View & Download

Third Place (TIED): “Pictures”
Alameda County
Irvington High School
Filmmaker: Daniel Roh
Advisor: Shiloh Burton
View & Download

Fourth Place: “Seeing Signs”
Los Angeles County
iLEAD Online
Filmmaker: Hannah Newton
Advisor: Cynthia Kobler
View & Download

Fifth Place: “Recharging”
Alameda County
Irvington High School
Filmmakers: Anindita Gooty and Arfa Sahul Hameed
Advisor: Shiloh Burton
View & Download

SanaMente

First Place: “Puedo Enfrentarlo”
Riverside County
David A Brown Middle School
Filmmakers: Gabriela Sanchez Flores, Jocelyn Pacheco, Justin Quick, and Mark Wysocki
Advisor: Amy Pitotti
View & Download

Second Place: “Ayuda”
Sonoma County
Roseland University Prep
Filmmakers: Sulema Mendoza, Stefanie Mendoza, and Maria Mendoza
Advisor: Norma Tellez
View & Download

Third Place: “Primer Generacion”
Riverside County
Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Filmmakers: Erica Barron and Julia Aversa
Advisor: Jacob Fuller
View & Download

Walk in Our Shoes – The Superhero in Each Of Us

First Place: “Help Equals Hope”
Los Angeles County
Palms Middle School Modern Media and Communications Magnet
Filmmakers: Samantha Hartmann, Ieva Arnold, and Margot Madeira
Advisor: Irene Clark
View & Download

Second Place: “The Overcomer”
Riverside County
David A Brown Middle School
Filmmaker: Mark Wysocki
Advisor: Amy Pitotti
View & Download

Third Place: “The Music in Me”
Tri-City (Los Angeles County)
Mountain View Elementary School
Filmmakers: Vivienne Mezones, Isabella Nateras-Garcia, Madyson Ryneer, and Isabella Pineda
Advisor: Jacqueline McElvy
View & Download

Walk in Our Shoes – What is Mental Health

First Place: “I’m Here for You”
Los Angeles County
Bret Harte Preparatory Middle School
Filmmakers: Joshua Bravo and Fatima Banegas
Advisor: Lindsay Varis
View & Download

Second Place: “Life In Color”
Orange County
Gordon H. Beatty Middle School
Filmmaker: Aarya Halankar
Advisor: Nae Ry Cho
View & Download

Third Place: “A Simple Hi”
Los Angeles County
Palms Middle School Modern Media and Communications Magnet
Filmmakers: Uleses Henderson, Traydell Wilson, Shane Hines, and Lennox Bradford
Advisor: Irene Clark
View & Download

Walk in Our Shoes – Words Matter

First Place: “Online Dangers: The Power of Our Words”
Los Angeles County
Palms Middle School Modern Media and Communications Magnet
Filmmakers: Baron Ellis, Shayaan Hyder, and Yossi Lazaro Cruz
Advisor: Irene Clark
View & Download

Second Place: “The Pep Talk”
San Diego County
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Filmmakers: Natalie Lopez, Jazmin Baca Guzman, Jasmin Lujan, Angelina Guerra, Jesus Aquino, Jesiah Gastelum, and Cristo Juarez
Advisor: Beth Duncan
View & Download

Third Place: “Words matter till the end of time…”
Los Angeles County
Sierra Vista Middle School
Filmmaker: Jason Flores
Advisor: Sheila Edwards
View & Download

A heartfelt thank you to our event sponsors:

Directing Change is part of Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement and statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.

This year our signature event sponsor is Blue Shield of California. Blue Shield of California BlueSky Initiative enhances access, awareness and advocacy of youth mental health supports in collaboration with the California Department of Education and leading nonprofit organizations. BlueSky supports California youth mental health by providing access to clinicians in middle and high schools, training educators on the signs of mental health concerns and empowering students with in-person and online mental health support resources.

“Thank you to the student filmmakers and winners of the 2021 Directing Change Film Contest. Film often provides an escape, but after a year unlike any other, it is also an especially impactful creative outlet and educational tool. Your camera lens and your voices can help save a life and shine a spotlight on the often misunderstood mental illness. Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky youth mental health initiative is so proud to support your inspiring work,” says Amanda Lasik, BlueSky Program Manager at Blue Shield of California.

Your Social Marketer, Inc has been a Directing Change partner for many years and is passionate about having the films seen by as many people as possible to inspire much-needed conversations on these topics in our schools, families and communities.  They will make a donation for every “Share and Tag” of this year’s finalists.

If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
The contest is part of Each Mind Matters: California's Mental Health Movement and statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. The program is implemented by Your Social Marketer, Inc.
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