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Press Release

Statewide Winners Announced In Directing Change Video Contest On Mental Health Matters Day

Student Films Recognized for Communicating Mental Health Awareness

PR Newswire

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Twelve films created by California high school and University of California (UC) students were announced as statewide winners in the second annual Directing Change Video Contest during a ceremony held yesterday afternoon as part of Mental Health Matters Day. The student video contest, sponsored by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), empowers young people to promote suicide prevention and end the silence associated with mental illness among their peers. Recognizing the creative and inspiring films submitted in these two categories, awards were presented by director Bradley Buecker and actor Max Adler from Fox's hit series Glee to winning student filmmakers at a ceremony at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento.

This year's contest received an impressive 432 submissions, representing 996 students from 112 high schools and 9 UC campus locations. All submissions were judged by volunteer experts in mental health and suicide prevention, members of the media and professionals in filmmaking and video production. Films were judged based on how the entries creatively explored the topics while also adhering to guidelines about how to safely and appropriately communicate about suicide prevention and mental illness.

Winning films in the suicide prevention category include:

  • High school
    • First: "A New Tomorrow" by Analy High School students Kendra Goff and Sullivan Rutherford
    • Second: "Perception" by James C. Enochs High School students Caleb Meyer, Jacob McNeilly, Justin Benziger, Brandon Wilcox, Mariah Davis and Megan Johnson
    • Third: "Hey Taylor" by Canyon High School students Kimberly Stratton, Stephen Gracia, Cassidy Foelsch and Nicholas Jackson
  • University of California
    • First: "Pain Never Lasts" by UC Riverside students Jared Odom and Morrise Richardson
    • Second: "Push" by UC Santa Barbara students Gabe Fox and Carter Hiyama
    • Third: "Paper" by UC San Diego student Rhiann Hang Lam Suen

Winning films in the ending the silence associated with mental illness category include:

This year's line-up of statewide judges ranged from Hollywood actors and producers to leaders in education and mental health. Lending their expertise in film and television production, statewide judges included actor Max Adler, director and producer Bradley Buecker, producer Scott Budnick and assistant director and producer George Parra. Details about each statewide judge are available at

Regional winners were announced in April and invited to participate in the awards ceremony in Sacramento, which included film screenings and the selection of statewide winners. The ceremony capped Mental Health Matters Day activities around the capitol that united more than one thousand people from throughout the state to give voice to the growing community of Californians who recognize that mental health is a critical issue for everyone, and that widespread wellness is only possible when fear and stigma are eliminated.

To view the full list of winners and winning videos, visit     

About Directing Change

The Directing Change film contest is funded through counties by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63). It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA operates services and education programs on a statewide, regional and local basis. For more information, visit

SOURCE California Mental Health Services Authority