Several Pleasant Valley High School (PVHS) film students will receive awards during a virtual ceremony this week (Tuesday, May 19, at 7 p.m.) for the 2020 Directing Change Program Film Contest. The annual public service announcement competition is part of the California Mental Health Services Authority’s Each Mind Matters initiative.
Student filmmakers from across the state were asked to create 30- or 60-second videos in six different categories on the topics of suicide prevention and mental health that would encourage fellow classmates to seek help for themselves as well as help others in need.
PVHS students placed in three categories for Region 5 (Northern California). Vincent Zachary Muñoz and Jesus Chavez-Hernandez placed first in the Suicide Prevention category for their film, “Our Battle,” which depicts the struggle with suicidal thoughts as a military battle that is won when soldiers fight together and help each other out. By placing first in their region, the filmmakers are entered into the statewide field, the winners of which will be announced during the ceremony.
Nathaniel Weliver and Eric Vue placed second in the Mental Health Matters category with “Let Go,” which addresses the stigma attached to openly discussing mental illness and stresses the importance of getting problems off of one’s chest.
Both film shorts provide reminders about the importance of being connected with one another, an especially timely topic considering the isolation so many people are experiencing these days.
PVHS students took home seven more awards, including third place and two honorable mentions in each of the two categories above, and an honorable mention in the statewide Through the Lens of Culture – Mental Health Matters category.