By VICKI LI
The Univision crew recently hosted a fundraiser to help fund the Orange County Film Festival (OCFF) and the organization behind it, FilmEd Academy of the Arts (FilmEd) on January 7. They raised $480 at the time of this article.
Established in 2003, OCFF has always been a student-run film festival. Although the production values of the films have improved drastically, its primary mission has not changed: to give students a real world stage for recognition of their filmmaking talents.
Founded in 1999 by David Junker, FilmEd has helped establish film program in 15 high schools throughout Orange County. It also provides a free film camp every summer. Each summer, approximately 360 students in Orange County learn basic videography skills and editing skills on appropriate software.
During the school year, FilmEd provides additional hands-on training as well as access to sophisticated equipment.
One notable piece of equipment includes the $80,000 Panasonic VariCam 35 camera.
“It’s really awesome that we get this opportunity, especially at our age. Being able to use all this professional equipment lets us experience what it’s like to work in the industry,” producer Jason Lao (Sr.) said.
In the past, FilmEd has provided the film camp, equipment and editing software free of charge, which can cost thousands of dollars at a college summer program. However, starting this year, almost all schools under the FilmEd program hosted a fundraiser.
“The fundraiser is to help FilmEd be able to give us equipment and continue helping us with stuff like filming sport events and pep rallies,” Lao explained. The money will also go to replacing damaged film equipment.
Other than the biweekly Univision show, the Univision crew is also in charge of the pep rally videos, sport games and life events for the Video Yearbook.
Univision has consistently been a highly achieving film crew, receiving multiple nominations at the OCFF for the past few years. This year, Vasiliy Bondarchuk (Jr.) won the award for Best Editing in a Narrative Film and was also nominated for Best Graphics Reel and Best Short Film. Yasmin Nikroo (Sr.) was nominated for Best Actress in Bondarchuk’s film.
“The hard work that I put into my project really paid off,” Bondarchuk reflects. “It’s euphoric [to be nominated] at first, but then you have to move on and work harder to get more awards and recognitions. It’s a pathway anyone in film or theater follows in order to live their passion.”
Although the time commitment is challenging to the crew’s busy academic schedule, it is a unique extracurricular where students can gain special experiences found in few other art forms.
“I’ve learned a lot about how to make videos, tell stories and work as a team,” Lao said. “Being in Univision helps a lot with getting involved in school because you have to be at a lot of school events and activities.”
Bondarchuk said, “There is still a lot more for me to learn in order to get another nomination and a definitely deserved award for graphics next year. I am trying to study a little animation too, so maybe I could annihilate OCFF next year if I make an animated short film.”
All IUSD schools hosted a fundraiser. At the time of this article, Woodbridge High School’s Warrior TV has raised $1942, the most of any IUSD school.
Under the supervision of Mrs. Hali Kessler (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), Univision will continue providing the school with quality videos and inspire future filmmakers at UHS.