Directing Change Contest is unfolding

THROUGH THE LENS OF CULTURE: family support against suicidal thoughts. (Nicole Quinonez-Frias)

Arantza Villarroel | Writer

February 15, 2024

Directing Change 2024 contest opened only a few weeks ago, motivating youth from counties all over California to participate, with the opportunity to win a prize of up to $1,000. The purpose is to educate the public on mental health and substance use, while listing resources available around them to use in times of need. All videos have to be one minute long, and submitted on March, 1st through Directing Change website.  

Such activity exists thanks to Directing Change organization, created to prevent suicide, reduce stigma about mental illness, and promote the wellness of students. They collaborate yearly with a powerful organization that is willing to promote the contest to smaller ones located all around the state of California, specifically those who work with the youth. This year is Sierra Health Suicide Prevention, who did a long-day forum explaining the project and its rules. 

The competition is divided into multiple categories to best fit the public, such as: suicide prevention, mental health, through the lens of culture, animated short, walk in our shoes, and lastly, hope and justice. All of them have a different main point of focus, and therefore different rules to follow in order to obtain all the points possible and rank between the winning videos for their county.

Still, one detail all categories have in common is positivity. Every video has to use precise vocabulary that helps decrease stigma, add useful resources available for the general public to get the needed help at any given point, and lastly, a well-thought narrative with extreme attention to detail. Script, imagery, sound, and the rest of those minuscule details we usually take for granted are extremely important for the video to win the contest. 

There are two clubs at the school who are currently participating on the contest, The Noble Path Foundation, and Cultural Unity. Both on the same category, mental health and suicide prevention through the lenses of culture. 

ENCHANTING IMAGERY takes up the screen, while adding to the feeling of loneliness. (Nicole Quinonez-Frias)

“I do not have any experience with recording films” stated junior Melanie Lopez. “I definitely think it will be a challenge for my club, Cultural Unity, to do it, specially taking into consideration Directing Change has zero tolerance for technical difficulties.” Hopeful but doubtful Lopez, vice president of the club, will soon start recording the video soon: “I hope we have fun in the process though, that will be the most valuable experience.”

The winning videos are published on Directing Change website, and showed as examples for next years contests. They also are used as advertisement for other mental health campaigns; the videos will be shown on forums and conventions, movie theaters, TV commercials, social media ads, and more! The organization wish to bring as much positive attention to the topic as it is possible, in order to expand the public’s knowledge and understanding. 

Junior Matias Aris from the Noble Path Foundation affirmed his club has already started recording. “It was difficult” he stated, “we had our phones to record, and had to repeat different shots a multitude of times. It was so hard to express the emotions we so vividly feel through the camera, and in under one minute.” Still, Matias remains hopeful that the video will come out just as they imagine, with fun special effects that will captivate the judges’ attention.

In order to win, ideas will have to be creative, entertaining and knowledgeable!

Wish luck to all the youth who are so eager to educate the community, and proportionate the valuable resources we have around us. We should all be excited to see what video will represent Orange County for the next year on all the conferences and commercials to come!

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