Directing Change Program and Film Contest Finalists from IUSD

Portola and Woodbridge High School student filmmakers created unique and educational short films on suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Directing change

The Directing Change Program & Film Contest announced the regional finalists in the 10th annual student contest encouraging young people to create short film and art projects about suicide prevention, mental health, managing through tough times, the impact of the pandemic and heading back to in-person education. 

In the Suicide Prevention category, four student filmmakers from Portola High School won first place for their film, titled “A Call to Macy.” Through visual storytelling, their short film conveys the importance of checking in on those you care about. Congratulations to Grace Shao, Elena Kim, Cecilia Mou, and Shailee Sankhala whose film will advance to the statewide round of judging. 

"Our film is a powerful representation of being an advocate for the people around you, and how being aware of the warning signs of suicide can save lives," said Ryan Itchon, Portola film advisor. 

Jessica Ramirez, Pauline Nguyen, and Marleen Juarez, students from Woodbridge High School, were also recognized in the same category for their short film, “One Call Away.” 

"Our youth filmmakers created unique and educational films, expressing the importance of mental health awareness, while remaining hopeful and reminding their peers they are not alone. Youth are experiencing a time unlike any we've ever been through, and we are grateful that we create space for them to process and express how they feel, while learning valuable coping and suicide prevention skills," said Shanti Bond-Martinez, Directing Change Senior Program Manager.

Students will be recognized at a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 17.

IUSD is committed to the wellbeing of our students. Our prevention and intervention page provides a collection of social-emotional and behavioral support resources. We  recognize that suicide prevention is a critical issue in supporting our students, staff, and families. Please visit our suicide prevention and awareness page for information on warning signs, risk factors and how to help someone in need. 

The Say Something Reporting System enables students to seek support anonymously for themselves or for friends. Students can visit the website, call 1-844-5-SAYNOW or 1-844-572-9669 or use the mobile app. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255

For support, text TEEN to 839-863 (Teens helping teens).