By AISHEE DAS
On January 3, 2015, the Orange County Film Festival, hosted by the FilmEd Academy of the Arts at Northwood High School (NHS), brought together young filmmakers to celebrate and award the filmmaking talent in Southern California. This year’s Film Festival theme was Film Noir, complete with a red carpet and black and white nomination videos.
Over 300 videos were submitted to the Orange County Film Festival, yet University High School (UHS) students shined through. UHS students accounted for 22 nominations.
Olivia Hanson (Sr.) was nominated for her music video, “The Girl” and David Geller (Sr.) for his, “Untitled.” Neema Sadeghi (Sr.) was nominated for his work as executive producer on UHS’s Univision broadcast.
In the Public Service Announcement (PSA) category, Nataneal Cho (Sr.) was nominated for his “Flappy Bird,” Francis Augustin (Sr.), Joseph Hwang (Sr.) and Dan Kim (Jr.) for “Look Ahead” and Neema Sadeghi and Jake Wolfert, from Capistrano Valley High School, for “Protect Your Melon.” In the Commercial category, Joanna Small (Sr.) and Neema Sadeghi were nominated for “Jersey Jam” and David Geller for “Sound Machines.”
Geller also received a nomination for Cinematography and Production of “Sound Machines.”
Aidan Galassetti (Sr.) was nominated for his independent short film “Triumph” and story narrative with Harold Surh (Sr.). Rona Ahdout (Sr.) and Neema Sadeghi’s short “Below the Surface” received 9 nominations under: Best Short Film, Best Actors for Joelle Kurzeja and Casi Kurzeja, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Director, Best Producer, Best Score from Brad Valentine (Sr. from Woodbridge High School) and Best Story Narrative. Ben Chiu (Sr.) was nominated for his graphics on “Univision, Look Ahead”
UHS students not only received many nominations, but also many awards.
David Geller was awarded Best Music Video for “Untitled.” Rona Adhout and Neema Sadeghi won awards for Best Director and Best Short Film for “Below the Surface.” Sadeghi also received awards for Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Producer for “Below the Surface.” He also won the coveted Filmmaker of the Year award.
Rona Ahdout said to others who might be interested in filmmaking, “Honestly making films really isn’t for the weak hearted cause you have to put in 100% effort and all your heart, but I’d encourage everyone to try it because when you start, you might fall in love with it and find that making something that is meaningful to the audience is so worth all the all-nighters and long days.”