Just Announced: The 2017 Directing Change Film Contest Statewide Winners


Last week the Directing Change Program & Film Contest recognized the outstanding achievements of young filmmakers at its 5th annual award ceremony hosted on Thursday, May 11th at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, CA.

With more than 450 submissions this year, participants competed by submitting 60-second films in one of three categories: Mental Health Matters, Suicide Prevention, and Through the Lens of Culture, a category that encouraged participants to focus on mental health or suicide prevention and highlight the experience of a diverse community to break down barriers that may prevent individuals from seeking help.


As guests filled the auditorium, youth filmmakers walked the red carpet and fielded questions from interviewers eager to learn about the inspiration for their film projects which help start important conversations about mental health and suicide prevention. Abigail Gransden, statewide winner in the High School – Mental Health Matters category, states “we are thankful to be here and help share awareness for mental health issues because we all know someone… who experiences [mental health challenges]… and no one talks about it.” She added “we came here today to share our experiences and say there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Directing Change Program & Film Contest embraces an innovative approach towards engaging young adults in learning about mental health and suicide prevention through filmmaking. Throughout the program, participants are engaged via all methods of the “learning spectrum” to see, experience, discuss, and apply concepts learned about these sensitive topics and communicate them through the power of film. Long-time supporter and teacher Don Collins states “the video contest, the rubric, the directions, the support is so amazing that as a teacher I got the opportunity to have this incredible, already planned out activity that involved critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration which for any teacher is the holy grail of student learning.”


In fact, a recent study by NORC at the University of Chicago demonstrated Directing Change provides an effective, tangible, and supportive way to generate open discussion about mental illness, prevent suicide, increase help-seeking, and to reduce stigma and discrimination. Read the report here.

Since the program began in 2012, it has received 2,138 films from over 5,300 young adults.

To view the complete list of statewide winners, visit www.directingchange.org/2017-winners.


You can check out highlights from the 2017 Directing Change Awards Ceremony by visiting the Each Mind Matters Facebook page where you can view live-stream footage from the event. To learn more about the Directing Change Program & Film Contest visit DirectingChange.org.