Directing Change Statewide Winners Announced!

Last night, Directing Change held an award ceremony at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento, Calif. to honor statewide winners of its annual student film contest. A total of 420 submissions, representing 1226 students and 112 high schools, and seven University of California campuses (UC) from 33 counties were received, and last night, students from six high school and six UCs were awarded for their films.

Winners were selected in two separate categories: Suicide Prevention and Ending the Silence. Senator Mark Leno presented the awards for the Ending the Silence category and Michael Gilvary, Writer/Director/Producer of NBC’s ‘Chicago Fire,’ presented awards for the Suicide Prevention category. Gilvary was also honored with an award for his screenplay for the film ‘According to Greta.’

Regional winners were selected to advance to this second, statewide round of judging and were narrowed down to the top three entries in each category.  Entries were judged by volunteer experts in mental health and suicide prevention, members of the media and professionals in film making and video production.

Participation in Directing Change opens the door to introduce prevention programs to the school.  Every school that engages with the contest receives an Ending the Silence presentation from NAMI and one of several donated suicide prevention programs.  In addition, students and schools are provided with access to a variety of educational resources on these topics throughout the school year.


The contest winners are as follows:

Ending the Silence Category (High Schools)


1st Place

Title: Hurdles

San Juan Capistrano, CA

San Juan Hills High School

Student Names: Katrina Fernandez


2nd Place

Title: What Defines Us

Chico, CA

Pleasant Valley High School/Butte ROP

Student Names: Jake Frank and Sarah Gray


3rd Place

Title: The Weight of Mental Illness

Rocklin, CA

Whitney High School

Student Names: Michael Abshear and Noah Spahn


Suicide Prevention Category (High Schools)


1st Place

Title: There Is Always Hope

Elk Grove, CA

Franklin High School

Student Names: Brenda Vang


2nd Place

Title: Dear Me

Rocklin, CA

Whitney High School

Student Names: Natalie Monroe and Beenish Farooqi


3rd Place

Title: The Signs

Anaheim, CA

Canyon High School

Student Names: Kimberly Stratton, Stephen Gracia, Thomas Foroughi and Tyler Casalini


Ending the Silence Category (University of California)


1st Place

Title: You, Me, Us

Los Angeles, CA

University of California Los Angeles

Student Names: Jonathan Coria, Devyani Rana, Matthew Schulte and Trevor Wilson


2nd Place

Title: You Are You

Santa Barbara, CA

University of California Santa Barbara

Student Name: Kathleen Oum


3rd Place

Title: Ending the Silence Together

Davis, CA

University of California Davis

Student Names: Sarah Raphael, Prakruti Nandendla, Nick Pasco and Javi Perez


Suicide Prevention Category (University of California)


1st Place

Title: Bricks

Riverside, CA

University of California Riverside

Student Name: Steven Le


2nd Place

Title: From Me to You

San Diego, CA

University of California San Diego

Student Name: Courtney Loi


3rd Place

Title:  Never Alone

Irvine, CA

University of California Irvine

Student Names: John Huang, Kore To and Hannah Lee