Third year film students enter a contest to help prevent suicide and aid those who are struggling

by Hazel Grion (Staff Writer) – 5/14/15

A shot from one of the films
A shot from one of the films

Every year Aaron Lemos enrolls his senior class to the “Directing Change Student Film” contest this year; twelve out of seventeen of his students received an honorable mention, including two pairs who won for “Best Cinematography” and “Best Screenplay.”

Directing Change is an organization that tries “to promote the mental health and wellness of students” but most importantly, tries to prevent suicide and aid people with mental illness. On April 8th, 2015, an email was sent to the twelve students from the Directing Change association notifying the twelve seniors that they were included in the honorable list. Out of 420 films, they placed at the top of the list. Lemos required his students to be in a group of two in order to compete in this competition.

Each competitor had to create a one-minute length film that was both “meaningful and effective” but most of all, original. First place regional winners won $500, and second and third place regional winners won $250. The rules were based off of what grade and educational level the competitor was in.  A maximum of four people can team up and work together.

“This experience made me realize how much people with mental illness really suffer,” said Sinai Santos, who was honored along with her film partner Ceeszly Aguilar. Each of them explained how they filmed their video as if they were “in the victim’s shoes.” According to Santos, she is “more considerate towards others because she does not know what they might be going through.”

Edward Lucero and his team partner, Carmen Hernandez, won for “Best Cinematography.” Cinematography is the art of motion of picture photography by recording light. In the first shot of their film, it showed a person walking by, and then in another shot it displayed numerous amounts of people walking too. With this, they overlapped the person and the rest of the crowd. This had an effect of “the people around the person not caring.” They continued their film by blacking out everything else while lighting a “specific” spot to show “sadness.” Eventually at the end of their film, they used colors, such as a “warm” orange to represent “happiness” as the people helped the person in need.

Through this the competition, Efren Lopez, another film student whose suicide prevention video was marked as honorable list, learned how “to give support and to convey a message sincerely.”

To watch each of these twelve films, visit and learn how to prevent suicide and aid people with mental illness.