Watch Films and End Stigma!

Do you have an artistic eye and a passion for advancing mental health awareness? Here’s your chance to make a difference for young people across California! The Directing Change Program & Film Contest needs judges for its 5th annual competition. Creative high school and college students across the state are hard at work making inspiring 60-second films about suicide prevention and mental health to support awareness, education and advocacy efforts. And we need YOUR help to select the winning films.

Directing Change invites individuals who want to help end mental health stigma and who have expertise in directing, writing, editing, acting, journalism, public service announcements, video production, suicide prevention and/or mental health to be a judge. The entire process will take less than two hours of your time, and you won’t even need to leave your home. You will be part of this exciting and life-changing program behind the scenes and you will walk away inspired by these talented young people. The deadline to contact us with interest in being a judge is March 1, 2017.

Here is what some past judges have said about the experience:

“We feel that when you take an emotion and make it visual, it is deepens the understanding of filmmaking.  This project also inspires empathy, compassion and understanding, which are all characteristics that make this world a better place.  Directing Change is a good program that we feel is important for our young people.  We are honored to be a part of it.”

“Participating in this knowledge circle encourages me to be the best I can possibly be as a clinical social worker treating clients with mental illness– this supportive environment brings out the best in all of us!”

“Programs like this create conversations, inspire thought, questions and recognition of the impact each one of us can have on others (young, mature or elder).”

“Being a judge in this contest was a very rewarding experience. It really raised my awareness of this particular category as it related to younger people. It also raised my awareness of all the other related issues that our young people face in today’s ever challenging world. Even more importantly, it reminded me of the fact that as ‘elders,’ we all have a responsibility to guide and support our young people through these challenges of life – without judgment or guilt. Aunt Ruby Nelson often used to say ‘Life at its best can be a struggle.’ Promoting creative programs and contests that wrap around real life issues needs to be encouraged at all levels of our educational system. With the support of our community’s elders some of these struggles with life that our young people face today would eventually be diminished or eliminated.”

Directing Change Judges…

  • Participate in a brief 30-45 minute judging orientation (via phone or webinar) in February 2017
  • Review up to 12 sixty-second film submissions and complete an online scoring form for each (time commitment of less than two hours.) The judging period will be taking place in mid-March 2017
  • Are invited (but not required) to attend the award ceremony in May 2017
  • Are recognized on the contest website and in the award ceremony program.

For more information about Directing Change and how you can become a judge, visit

For related content: The 2016 Directing Change Statewide Winners!