Curtain Call for Student Film Festival

By Scott Craig   |   April 9, 2024

The results are in and the awards handed out at the second annual Montecito Student Film Festival on March 23 at Westmont’s Porter Theatre. About 150 people attended the festival throughout the day to watch 41 films, pared down from the more than 500 that were submitted. 

NBC’s Michael Swanson (photo by Jonathon Iyob ‘27)

Chase Olivera, an 18-year-old student at College of the Canyons, won the Critic’s Choice Award and Best Animation for his film Chihuahua Shake.

“It was a great honor to be a part of this festival,” Olivera says. “Amazing films, great location, high-profile roundtables, and a very personable/supportive staff! You can tell they care a lot about what they’re doing and there are lots of connections to be made. A wonderful festival all around!”

Westmont senior Tamia Sanders, who produced the festival, won the Audience Award for her film His Glory.

Other student-filmmaker awardees included Pawel Cichonski of Poland for Best Documentary and Sami Emad Farah of the Syrian Arab Republic won Best International Film. 

New this year, roundtable discussions featured Michael Swanson, senior vice president of NBC/Peacock Production; Cheryl Bayer, president of Living Popups Media, and former head of ABC Network Programming and FOX Programming; and Holly Sorensen, showrunner and writer for Step Up High Water (Starz Network), Make it or Break It (ABC Network), and Recovery Road (ABC Network).

Congratulations to Wendy Jackson, festival executive director, and Jonathan Hicks (’04), festival executive producer; and their staff for a successful event.  


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