The 2016 Directing Change Statewide Winners!

Today, Directing Change held the fourth annual award ceremony at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, Calif. to honor statewide winners of its youth film contest.

Winners were selected in three separate categories: Mental Health Matters, Suicide Prevention and Through the Lens of Culture. The winners of the High School Mental Health Matters category were presented by Director/Screenwriter Gren Wells. Actor LaKeith Stanfield presented the winners for the High School Suicide Prevention category and Native American activist Michelle Enfield presented the Through the Lens of Culture winners. Teen pop star and anti-bullying advocate, Meredith O’Connor, presented the Youth & Young Adult awards and gave a musical performance.Directing Change_Winners

Students filled the auditorium along with celebrity guests, including Brett Davern of MTV’s “Akward,” and Gavin MacIntosh of “The Fosters,” Raphael Sbarge of “Murder in the First,” Naomi Grossman of “American Horror Story,” and Eric Close of “Nashville.” Directing Change_Celebs

“The Road Within” received the award for Outstanding Mental Health Film and “Short Term 12” for Outstanding Suicide Prevention Film.

A total of 451 films were received from 31 counties. These films represent more than 1,100 students from 91 high schools and 35 colleges and youth organizations. Today, students from 11 high schools, four universities, and four youth organizations were awarded for their films.

Hear students and celebrity judges share their experiences and offer inspiring words in our Lime Green Live interviews from the Directing Change red carpet posted on the Each Mind Matters Facebook page.

State Winners are as follows:

High School Mental Health Matters

First Place: “The Journey”

Redwood High School, Marin County

Students: Benedict Conran, Thomas Hayden Smeltzer, Asha Cummings and Dominique Cruz /

Advisor: Peter Parish


Second Place: “Off the Script”

Pleasant Valley High School, Butte County

Students: Ryan Martin and Kaden White / Advisor: Michael Peck


Third Place: “Naivete”

Canyon High School, Orange County

Students: Nick Jackson, Susie Anderson, Ethan Burk, and Cassidy Keith / Advisor: Alex Graham


High School Suicide Prevention

First Place: “The Guides of Life”

Franklin High School, Sacramento County

Students: Ryan Santiago / Advisor: Brad Clark


Second Place: “A Hand of Hope”

Mission San Jose High School, Alameda County

Students: Hanlin Wang, Michelle Zhang, Emily Shiang, Vincent Chiang / Advisor: Nina LaRosa


Third Place: “Leap of Faith”

Murrieta Valley High School, Riverside County

Student: Benjamin Finnie / Advisor: Ella Harrison


Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Matters

First Place: “Real Life Super Hero”

Redwood Voice, Del Norte County

Students: Jedidiah Hawkins and Makenzy Williams / Advisor: Jacob Patterson


Second Place: “This is Claire”

Active Minds at UC Davis, Yolo County

Student: Marielle Pastor / Advisor: Eva Schepeler

Third Place: “Phone Call”

Mt. San Jacinto College, Riverside County

Students: Walter Popiela, Sixto Romero and Jessica Casillas / Advisor: Bing Bruce


Youth and Young Adult Suicide Prevention

First Place: “I Have Walked in Your Shoes”

VYVA Inc., Solano County

Student: Mason Conner / Advisor: Lynn Larsen


Second Place: “Brighter Days”

Pasadena City College, Los Angeles County

Student: Nataly Adame / Advisor: Jennifer Garson


Third Place: “Hope Melody”

City of Indio Teen Center, Riverside County

Students: Edgar Ortiz, Andrew Martinez, Arely Zarco and JuQuan Roberts / Advisor: Laura Alvarez


Through the Lens of Culture Mental Health Matters

First Place: “The Language of Healing”

San Francisco State University, San Francisco County

Students: Alejandra Vaca and Amanda Deda / Advisor: Vincent Lam


Second Place: “Through Our Eyes”

Ruben S. Ayala High School, San Bernardino County

Students: Ashley Chuang, Nelly Hejazi, Melanie Pak, and Nikhil Vettikattu / Advisor: Kevin Russell


Third Place: “Hear Me”

Elk Grove High School, Sacramento County

Students: Curtis Wong, Morgana Parsons, Cathrina Paclibar and Mauriana Raye / Advisor: Jennifer Moore


Through the Lens of Culture Suicide Prevention

First Place: “My Hidden Feelings”

Canyon High School, Orange County

Students: Nicole McCready and Kana Okafuji / Advisor: Alex Graham


Second Place: “Depression Has No Culture”

Clovis East High School, Fresno County

Students: Maegan Ankenman, Adryauna Speer, Caitlin Luster, Malia Willison / Advisor: Derrick Davis


Third Place (tied): “Suicide on Indian Country”

Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaboration, Humboldt County

Student: Tristin Severns / Advisor Name: Leah Lamattina


Third Place (tied): “My Friend Tyler”

Whitney High School, Placer County

Students: Matt Dazey and Noah Lopez-Koen / Advisor: Benjamin Barnholdt