La Verne wins big at film festival

Erum Jaffrey
Assistant Editor

Advanced video production students and La Verne faculty and staff took home five WAVE awards and had their documentaries screened at the 909 Film Festival on Oct. 24.

The Alliance for Community Media’s Western Area Video Excellence Awards honor the best television and public access TV productions in the Western United States.

“Bonita Pop Show 2014,” directed by the Broadcast Oper­ations Manager Shane Rod­rigues, won in the Enter­tainment, Professional Category.

“The Transformation,” co-produced by 2014 alumnus Mckinley Pollock and senior broadcasting major Serena Ghazzawi won in the community producer division in the same category for their 20-minute werewolf comedy, completed as their senior project.

“‘The Transformation’ is about a boy who is really into monster movies and is going through puberty, thinking he’s turning into a werewolf,” Ghazzawi said.

“When you are young and innocent, your world can seem to be crashing down with silly things and a simple mindset, like the boy in this film,” she said.

Don Pollock’s advanced video production students won in the community producer news category for their monthly video magazine, Spotlight, which features short documentaries on interesting people, places and events in and around La Verne and its neighboring cities.

Winning producers included 2014 alumna Marilyn Mejia, Ghazzawi, senior Taylor Grzechwiak, senior Delanie Pacheco and 2014 alumna Raquel Lucero.

Students in the Intermediate Video Production class won Best Public Service Announcement for their video on freedom of speech “Student 421.”

“Student 421” was produced by sophomore Scott Feuerhelm, junior Armando Tapia, senior Jake Vandenberg and visiting international student Peter Nelson.

A short documentary from the Spotlight show, “JBrown Violin Maker” won for best community producer information video.

Mejia produced this documentary about a quaint music store in Claremont owned by James Brown.

“I had rented a violin from him before and loved his little shop, so I decided to interview him and make a documentary about his store,” Mejia said.

“JBrown” had been honored previously by the Broadcast Education Association and has screened at the 909 Film Festival, which features work from filmmakers who live or work in the 909 area code.

The “JBrown” crew, included senior Tyler Harrison, and 2014 alumnae Ebony Williams and Chantal Silva.

“It was wonderful collaborating with these women,” Harrison said. “It’s very rewarding to see how successful we can be in a male driven industry.”

Erum Jaffrey can be reached at

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