UHS wins big at Orange County Film Festival


UHS set a record breaking year, receiving 20 nominations and multiple awards throughout the night (Courtesy of the Univision Crew)

By Katie Liu, David Lee and Aniket Mehrotra
Arts & Entertainment Section Editors, News Section Editor
Univision was nominated for and won awards in the Orange County Film Festival (OCFF), held at Northwood High School on Friday, January 4. A record breaking 20 students were nominated for various categories of film.
OCFF, established in 2003 with the purpose of showcasing different students’ films and stories, is an important opportunity to inspire future filmmakers as well as recognize their projects. The festival involved multiple categories, ranging from acting to broadcast to sound design. This year’s OCFF was hosted at Northwood High School with several hundred parents, students and advisors in attendance.
This year, Univision won the 24 for their film, Fire, a political commentary on immigration and ICE. They also won the 24 last year for their film, Battles, making UHS the first school in OCFF history to win the 24 back to back. In addition, to an impressive victory, the 24 helped the team in other particular ways.
“I think that the 24 hour film festival helped to solidify that bond because it tested our ability to work well together in a really intense and stressful situation,” Senior May-Lynn Le stated. “We all had so much fun working on it and the video ended up winning the “best 24” category”
Members of the skilled Univision crew also won multiple awards that night. Seniors May-Lynn Le, Kelly Chong and Shannon Fan won Best Show Open for Univision.
Le went on and was awarded Filmmaker of the Year, the most prestigious award presented at OCFF. Additionally, she went on to win Best Independent for Headspace, Best Spot Feature for Carol, featuring alumna Carol Xi and Best Editing for Enough is Enough. She was nominated for Best Music Video, Best Spot Feature, Best Cinematography and Best Story as well.
The short film Hothead won a slew of categories with much of the team behind it being nominated and winning. Alumni Vasiliy Bondarchuk was awarded Best Editing. Senior Amrut Ayyala won Best Actor. Senior Chris Lohmeyer won Best Director.
For Hothead, Lohmeyer, the director, described his initial reactions after learning that they had won and discussed some issues that the team ran into.
“I was initially surprised when I received the award because I didn’t expect that to happen,” Lohmeyer said, “but overall I feel gratified to have accomplished this. Mainly our planning of the story was hard as always, but we also had some actor issues. Two of our actors couldn’t show up so we had to use two of our crew members.”
Senior Khashayar Ghaffarieh was nominated for Best PSA and Best Director for Rainn. In addition, Seniors Tristan Mogari and Mia Escaip were nominated for Best Short Film and Best Producer for their film Mars.
Le feels that the crew was successful because it made the films for itself, not its audience.
“Everything that we made wasn’t with the goal to get nominated, to win, or to impress other people,” Le said. “It was because we genuinely wanted to tell a certain story or express a certain feeling, so I think that made our films stand out because the audience is able to connect to the film.”