CSUSM students win film competition
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It all started as a simple class assignment for the six CSUSM students who created Mental Health Does Not Define Me, winner of the Art With Impact Short Film Competition.
A screening of the film was held at the Health Outreach Promotion Education (H.O.P.E). and Wellness center on Feb. 16 alongside an accompanying Q&A with creators Roberto Morelia, Megan Escobar, Helena Gulbrandsen, Luis Alfredo Castañeda Saavedra, Casey Staples and Cameron Johnson.
Mental Health Does Not Define Me shares the story of Olivia DePaul, a fellow CSUSM student who battled with depression and anxiety. DePaul details the urgency of reaching out for help and stressed that, “…there’s a lot less pressure on you than you’d expect.”
As her closing statement within the film, DePaul proudly declared, “You are more than what you’re struggling with. Mental health does not define me.”
Partnering up with the H.O.P.E. & Wellness Center and Active Minds, the students connected with Mental Health Educator, Cheryl Berry who listedgave a list of potential participants for the film, which is how DePaul connected with the students in the first place. “We shared this throughout campus, and throughout student fairs with faculty and staff that could make use of these messages, to work with our students on campus.”
A testament to the editing skills of Roberto Morelia, DePaul’s interview contained over an hour of content that had to be reduced to five minutes in order to be considered eligible for the competition. “This would not have been nearly quality enough if it weren’t for Roberto,” said Escobar.
The group of students gave praise to their COMM 310 professor, Dr. Catherine Armas-Matsumoto. “We wouldn’t have submitted it without Dr. Matsumoto’s encouragement either,” Staples added.
As the Febuary. 2017 winners, the students weren’t just bestowed with recognition, they were awarded with a prize of $1,000. In an act of extreme generosity, the prize money was given to Active Minds in hopes that it will support the organization’s efforts.