Digital video students WIN at film festival


Annette Deming

Digital Video Adviser, Brian Garcia, and students Aiden Deming, Jake Swartz, and Student Director, Shaiyanne Leeming pose at the California Performing Arts Theatre for the 6th Annual Inland Empire Screening & Award Ceremony of the Directing Change Film Contest.

Digital video students received an honorable mention award at the 6th Annual Inland Empire Screening & Award Ceremony yesterday at the California Theatre of Performing Arts in San Bernardino. The students public service announcement: “Never Alone” was a winner in the Suicide Prevention category of the competition. “I’m proud that they achieved this much,” adviser Brian Garcia said about his students, “I hope they are motivated to make a difference in the film making community.”

Don Lugo students:  Alexis Avalos, Aiden Deming, Tyler Ermer, Shaiyanne Leeming, Jason Molina, David Salinas, Jake Swartz, Ace Yamboa, and Hannah Ziemer are the team that wrote and produced the film. Student Director, Shaiyanne Leeming, said, ” I think an important thing about this film…is the idea of the impact it would make on students everywhere; it’s just a really important topic to discuss.”

The San Bernardino County Department of Health hosts the Directing Change competition, which is a statewide effort that addresses the important topics of suicide prevention each year. In their 6th year, the organization received 324 film submissions, according to San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health Director, Dr. Veronica Kelley. “There was a 30% increase in participation.”

According to the organizations Showbill, “Entries were judged statewide by volunteer experts in mental health and suicide prevention, members of the media, and professionals in film making and video production.” The Directing Change Program and Film Contest’s mission is to educate young people about critical health topics through the medium of film and promote social justice by changing conversations in schools and communities. The evening concluded with awards for twelve schools from both Riverside and San Bernardino county.