Orange County Films

Directing Change is an evaluated suicide prevention and mental health program with the mission to educate young people about critical health topics through art and promote social justice and health by changing conversations in schools and communities.
Suicide Prevention

A Call to Macy

First Place Regional - Suicide Prevention
2022
Artist: Grace Shao, Elena Kim, Cecilia Mou, and Shailee Sankhala
Orange County
Grade: 12
Portola High School
Advisor: Ryan Itchon
A concerned friend reaches out though the phone to let her friend know she’s noticed her changing behavior and wonders if she’s thinking about suicide.

Suicide Prevention

Second Place Regional - Suicide Prevention
2022
Artist: Fatima Mendez
Orange County
Grade: 12
Santiago High School
Advisor: Tina Heiland
A girl notices signs of self harm in her best friend, and alerts a trusted adult to get him help.

One Call Away

Third Place Regional (TIED) - Suicide Prevention
2022
Artist: Jessica Ramirez, Pauline Nguyen, and Marleen Juarez
Orange County
Grade: 12
Woodbridge High School
Advisor: Megan Humphreys
A girl texts her friend to say goodbye, but her friend urges her to seek help and give resources.

Crowd Noises

Third Place Regional (TIED) - Suicide Prevention
2022
Artist: Stella Nguyen, An Nguyen, Athena Nguyen, Caterina Nguyen, and Sydney Hoang Dao
Orange County
Grade: 12
La Quinta High School
Advisor: Amanda LaPera
A girl feels invisible and hopeless, then a friend reaches out and lets her know she is not alone

Quaranteens

Third Place Statewide- Suicide Prevention
2020
Artist: Brooke Brody, Ashna Parekh, Katie Kim, Daisy Bateman
Orange County
Grade: 10
Woodbridge High School
Advisor: Megan Humphreys
A film about how social distancing affects our mental health and the importance of reaching out.

Imagine

2020
Artist: Taylor Rogers
Orange County
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
A film that encourages the viewer to have hope for the future and to reach out when they are struggling.

Why Waste Rice?”

Honorable Mention- Through the Lens of Culture Suicide Prevention
2019
Artist: Charlene Datu
Orange County
Grade: 11
Katella High School
Advisor: Jeff Numainville
I chose this category because growing up in a traditional Filipino household meant that I grew up thinking that mental illness was something that a person did to themselves. When my aunt and cousin had their psychotic episodes, my family would deem it as their fault and let it go on for too long. Through this project, I eventually learned that it was a common Filipino stigma and not just something my family made me believe. In 2018, the Philippines finally passed the first mental health bill to provide funding for treating mental illnesses, which is extraordinary considering how long the U.S. has worked to overcome this stigma. Unfortunately, many older generational Filipinos still pass down this mindset to their children, who in turn don't ask for help when they need it. Seeing and experiencing this first hand, prompted me to make this film for my fellow Filipino-Americans.

Reach Out

Statewide Third Place- Animated Short
2019
Artist: Mila Daniel, Markov Zarate, and Camryn Lujan
Orange County
Grade: 10
Samueli Academy
Advisor: Aimee Bilderback
Our film is an animated short focused on reaching out to loved ones who may be suffering with depression or suicidal thoughts. It focuses on a boy in emotional pain, and he exhibits many signs of somebody with suicidal thoughts. His friend notices these signs in him and she decides to reach out in order to help him, giving him comforting words. Our group wanted to educate and assist those around us so we tried to create a video that was as helpful as possible to teenagers. While making the film, we ourselves learned about how to reach out to loved ones we are concerned about.

Audience of One

Statewide First Place- Animated Short
2020
Artist: Keanu Hua, Brian Ly, Kayla Nguyen and Alexa Wright
Orange County
Grade: 10
La Quinta High School Creative Writing
Advisor: Amanda LaPera
A protagonist, depressed at the hopelessness of their life, goes to his desk and tears out the pages of his life, his memories. Ultimately, though, his actions draw the sympathy of a dear friend of his, who reminds him that, even when everything seems terrible, every moment of his life means something.

An Awkward Conversation

Regional First Place - Suicide Prevention
2020
Artist: Rod Boaz
Orange County
Grade: 11
Valencia High School
Advisor: Roman Tijerina & Ricky Lopez
In a voicemail, a boy shares his concerns to a friend and asks him directly if he is thinking of suicide, so the friend decides to reach out to a crisis line for help. Ever since my middle school friend took his own life, I was always haunted by the question of what would've happened if I had just reached out. This film gave me an opportunity to explore the answer to that question.
Mental Health Matters

The Comeback

Special Recognition - Films from a Sports Perspective
2022
Artist: Connor Ho, Julian Hahn, Sam Malo
Orange County
Grade: 11
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
A student swimmer describes how he realizes that something feels different about his mental health. He finds support from his team, family and others to seek help for his sadness and stress.

You Never Know

Special Recognition Acting
2022
Artist: James Conlee, Dee Tran, Ruby Schultz, and Zoey Rodriguez
Orange County
Grade: 11
El Dorado High School
Advisor: Mark Switzer
While chatting with her friend, a girl opens up that she's been struggling and needs support. The film shares signs of depression and how a friend can be supportive by connecting someone who is struggling with a trusted adult and reminds viewers that you are never alone.

Alone

First Place Regional - Mental Health Matters
2022
Artist: Tahlia Pompel, Samantha Mar, Scarlett Martinez, and Caleb Lim
Orange County
Grade: 10
El Dorado High School
Advisor: Mark Switzer
A stop motion film that expolores what it's like for a girl who is living with depression.

The Anxious Mind

Second Place Regional - Mental Health Matters
2022
Artist: Victoria Faith Gomez, Alyanah Gastinell, and Julia Watson
Orange County
Grade: 11
Rosary Academy
Advisor: David Lyons
Students who participate in different clubs and activities at school show that they all experience challenges with thrie mental health at times.

Each Mind Matters

Third Place Regional- Mental Health
2020
Artist: Mia Avalos
Orange County
Grade: 11
Edison High School
Advisor: Ryan Hayes
A film about ways to cope with mental health challenges by finding support and doing things you enjoy.

The Mental Blanket

Second Place Regional- Mental Health
2020
Artist: Nemo Luong
Orange County
Grade: 10
Brea Olinda High School
Advisor: Mr. Mings
A film that talks about views on mental health in the Vietnamese community and how to reduce stigma.

Discovering May

Honorable Mention- Mental Heath
2020
Orange County
Grade: 11
Portola High School
A transgender woman shares her story of discovering her identity.

Signs

2020
Artist: Justin Guest, Harmaan Mohta, Mitchel Jones, Meyson McComb
Orange County
Grade: 10
El Dorado High School
Advisor: Mark Switzer
A group of friends talk on a video call about the changes they have noticed in their friend’s behavior and reach out to him to check in.

3-1-2020

Second Place Regional- Mental Health
2020
Artist: Giada Leone
Orange County
Grade: 10
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
A girl decides to reach out for help and notices positive changes in herself once she gets the help she needs.

隠された思い (My Hidden Feelings)

First Place Statewide- Through the Lens of Culture
2016
Artist: Nicole McCready and Kana Okafuji
Orange County
Grade: 10
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
A film that tells the story of a girl who experiences anxiety and hopelessness and finds support from a friend who reaches out to her

Help Me to Grow

Honorable Mention- Through the Lens of Culture Suicide Prevention
2019
Artist: Tyler Vu
Orange County
Grade: 11
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
This PSA is about a Vietnamese girl who is afraid of ruining her family name because of the emotions she has been feeling. She knows that it is not common in her culture to tell everyone about the feelings they are feeling, but she knows that family is what matters and that if she can help someone they can help her.

The Conversation

Honorable Mention- Through the Lens of Culture Mental Health
2019
Artist: Kayla Sosin, Jarod Hagen, Mark Conwell, and Nicholas Oftelie
Orange County
Grade: 10
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
"The Conversation" is a film about how much communication matters in both family and language, English and Spanish.
Through the Lens of Culture

Hablar Con Confianza

Honorable Mention- SanaMente
2020
Artist: Denisse Arzate, Jesse Munoz & Valentina Torres
Orange County
Grade: 10
Samueli Academy
Advisor: Aimee Bilderback
A news announcement about the importance of talking about mental health in the Latinx community.

隠された思い (My Hidden Feelings)

First Place Statewide- Through the Lens of Culture
2016
Artist: Nicole McCready and Kana Okafuji
Orange County
Grade: 10
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
A film that tells the story of a girl who experiences anxiety and hopelessness and finds support from a friend who reaches out to her

Why Waste Rice?”

Honorable Mention- Through the Lens of Culture Suicide Prevention
2019
Artist: Charlene Datu
Orange County
Grade: 11
Katella High School
Advisor: Jeff Numainville
I chose this category because growing up in a traditional Filipino household meant that I grew up thinking that mental illness was something that a person did to themselves. When my aunt and cousin had their psychotic episodes, my family would deem it as their fault and let it go on for too long. Through this project, I eventually learned that it was a common Filipino stigma and not just something my family made me believe. In 2018, the Philippines finally passed the first mental health bill to provide funding for treating mental illnesses, which is extraordinary considering how long the U.S. has worked to overcome this stigma. Unfortunately, many older generational Filipinos still pass down this mindset to their children, who in turn don't ask for help when they need it. Seeing and experiencing this first hand, prompted me to make this film for my fellow Filipino-Americans.

Help Me to Grow

Honorable Mention- Through the Lens of Culture Suicide Prevention
2019
Artist: Tyler Vu
Orange County
Grade: 11
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
This PSA is about a Vietnamese girl who is afraid of ruining her family name because of the emotions she has been feeling. She knows that it is not common in her culture to tell everyone about the feelings they are feeling, but she knows that family is what matters and that if she can help someone they can help her.

The Conversation

Honorable Mention- Through the Lens of Culture Mental Health
2019
Artist: Kayla Sosin, Jarod Hagen, Mark Conwell, and Nicholas Oftelie
Orange County
Grade: 10
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
"The Conversation" is a film about how much communication matters in both family and language, English and Spanish.

Stigmas Around the World

2019
Artist: Laila Nahas, Jessica Ramirez, Naomi Kim, and Pauline Kim
Orange County
Grade: 11
Woodbridge High School
Advisor: Megan Humphreys
Youth from different cultures encourage others to chose empowerment over shame and break the stigmas surrounding mental illness.

When I Was Your Age

2019
Artist: Cecilia Mou, Ryne Dunman, and Shailee Sankhala
Orange County
Grade: 11
Portola High School
Advisor: Ryan Itchon
This film explores the generational and cultural differences in families perceive mental health.
SanaMente

Find Your Superpower

Honorable Mention- SanaMente
2021
Artist: Mayson Iames, Kevan Meeks, Audrey Romo, and Ashelyn Kelley
Orange County
Grade: 11
Santiago Charter Middle School
Advisor: Danny Chiang
Students help each other cope with stress by finding their strengths and getting support from trusted adults.

Salud Mental

Fourth Place- SanaMente
2019
Artist: Jaqueline Lujan, and Andrea Solis
Orange County
Grade: 10
Katella High School
Advisor: Jeff Numainville
A Latina youth shares the difficulty she and others in her community have sharing their feelings with their families. She is inspired by SanaMente, California's mental health movement, and decides to help herself and others in her community by talking openly about mental health

Primera Generacion

Honorable Mention- SanaMente
2020
Artist: Grace Feliciano
Orange County
Grade: 11
Innovation High School
Advisor: Marla del Rosario
A girl is feeling pressured and struggling with anxiety from being the first in her family to get an education. She found help on the SanaMente website. Una niña se siente presionada y esta batallando con ansiedad de ser la primera en su familia a recibir una educación. Encuentra ayuda en el sitio de SanaMente.
Animated Short

Know Who To Lend A Hand To

Fifth Place (TIED) - Animated Short
2022
Artist: Mariana Juarez, Kimberly Sanchez, and David Maciel
Orange County
Grade: 11
Samueli Academy
Advisor: Aimee Bilderback
An animated film about a friend who noticed warning signs that their friend needed help.

Reach Out

Statewide Third Place- Animated Short
2019
Artist: Mila Daniel, Markov Zarate, and Camryn Lujan
Orange County
Grade: 10
Samueli Academy
Advisor: Aimee Bilderback
Our film is an animated short focused on reaching out to loved ones who may be suffering with depression or suicidal thoughts. It focuses on a boy in emotional pain, and he exhibits many signs of somebody with suicidal thoughts. His friend notices these signs in him and she decides to reach out in order to help him, giving him comforting words. Our group wanted to educate and assist those around us so we tried to create a video that was as helpful as possible to teenagers. While making the film, we ourselves learned about how to reach out to loved ones we are concerned about.

Audience of One

Statewide First Place- Animated Short
2020
Artist: Keanu Hua, Brian Ly, Kayla Nguyen and Alexa Wright
Orange County
Grade: 10
La Quinta High School Creative Writing
Advisor: Amanda LaPera
A protagonist, depressed at the hopelessness of their life, goes to his desk and tears out the pages of his life, his memories. Ultimately, though, his actions draw the sympathy of a dear friend of his, who reminds him that, even when everything seems terrible, every moment of his life means something.
Walk in Our Shoes

Lasting Impact

Honorable Mention- Walk in our Shoes- Words Matter
2022
Artist: Mackenzie Brehm, Claire Vaughan, Angelasarai Bernal, Faith Monges, and Matia Gonzalez
Orange County
Grade: 10
Santiago Charter Middle School
Advisor: Danny Chiang
When one student in a classroom struggles, students model the right and wrong ways to respond and provide support. Students learn that words can have a lasting impact and that it is important to show kindness to others.

Life In Color

Second Place- Walk in our Shoes- What is Mental Health
2021
Artist: Aarya Halankar
Orange County
Grade: 10
Gordon H. Beatty Middle School
Advisor: Nae Ry Cho
A film about how opening up to others and how using available resources can bring color back to one’s life.

How to Help a Friend in Need

Honorable Mention- Walk in Our Shoes- What is Mental Health
2020
Artist: TEAM/Members will be Anonymous
Orange County
Grade: 7
Whitaker Elementary School
Advisor: Megan Vanderwest
An animated film which shares tips about how to be supportive of a friend who is struggling such as using encouraging words, and how to seek help from a trusted adult.
Hope and Justice

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Honorable Mention May 2022 Justice
2022
Artist: Nathan Langley and Ryder Yerington
Orange County
Grade: 8
Serrano Intermediate
Advisor: Ali Stucky
We showed how people may not know others' backgrounds and what they could be feeling and not to judge them for it.

Hope in us

Honorable Mention May 2022 Hope
2022
Artist: Oceanne Fabry-Mourer and Kaitlyn Wilger
Orange County
Grade: 7
Serrano Intermediate
Advisor: Ali Stucky
Our submission is about ideas to give you hope while going through a though time. We provided a few tips with tangible actions to take. The idea was to ensure that students have an opportunity to have "toolkit" in case of needing help.

What is Hope?

1st place May 2022 Hope
2022
Artist: Addison Nelson and Sophia Davies
Orange County
Grade: 7
Serrano Intermediate
Advisor: Ali Stucky
Our video is meant to show what others think hope is or what they are hoping for. We hope that people will feel encouraged by this to share their hope with the world and not be scared to show their hopes and dreams.

Heritage Held High

First Place - Hope & Justice
2022
Artist: Scott Hayashida
Orange County
Grade: 10
Canyon High School
Advisor: Alex Graham
“This video is about my Japanese American culture and origins and about the recent situations with Asian Hate. I believe that Asian Hate crimes are causing widespread depression among the Asian community and I have taken step in the direction of what I believe I can do to help."

Stop Childhood Sexual Abuse

Third Place - Hope & Justice
2022
Artist: Emily Reed
Orange County
Grade: 12
NAMI
Advisor: Steve Pitman
“My goal for creating this entry is to inform and bring awareness to the community that sexual abuse can be the cause of mental health diagnoses. Bringing people, organizations, resources together is something I feel is impactful based on my experience, as well as inspire and encourage others to seek help and let individuals know they are not alone. Some days are rough and there are setbacks, but good days also happen. My story is not over. I continue to fight for my life and the life of others, for justice, for people.”

The Struggle with Surviving

Honorable Mention- Hope and Justice
2021
Artist: Haley Bartow
Orange County
Grade: 9
Serrano Intermediate
Advisor: Haley Bartow
A poem about a girl with suicidal thoughts and where she finds hope.

Pawsitively Grateful

Monthly Prompt Film 1st Place
2021
Artist: Amariah Garza
Orange County
Pacific Coast High School
Advisor: Barry Koff
“My video serves as a reminder that no matter how long one has a pet, the love, kindness, empathy, and joy that can be learned from them will forever be present and allow us to connect to those around us.”