Lights, camera, awards


Woodbridge took home the most awards in its history at the 2015 Orange County Film Festival, which took place on Jan. 3 at Northwood High’s Performing Arts Center and featured a screening and awards ceremony to honor young filmmakers.

“The Orange County Film Festival is easily my favorite night of the year,” junior and media producer Dan Lesser said.

Founded in 2003, the festival attracts over 700 attendees annually and includes 20 different categories. Sponsored by the Cinematic Arts Experience, the festival is nationally recognized and was sold out this year, according to the Orange County Film Festival website.

“The film festival was the best it’s ever been,” senior and media director Jacob Torrey said.

Woodbridge FilmEd won the challenging 24, where schools submit films made in only 24 hours.

“I was extremely happy that our 24 hours of hard work paid off,” Torrey said. “I definitely felt that the video we had created was the best but there was still some competition out there. It was unforgettable being on stage.”

Lesser won an award for Best Editing on his documentary “Brad Valentine: Composer.” The short documentary features stories from senior Brad Valentine, his parents and his piano teacher about his work and his inclination for music at a young age.

“Being able to win multiple awards at the festival was unreal. Having a whole theater of people being able to watch my film was a crazy experience and probably my favorite part of the night,” Lesser said. “Being recognized for my hard work was truly humbling and only pushes me to work harder and to make better films in the years to come.”

His subject, Valentine, also won an award in the Best Score category for his work on “Below the Surface”, a short film about an older sister’s memories and regrets in a moment of reflection on her deceased younger sister. The film also won an award for Best Short Film.

“Being a musician, it’s awesome to have had so many opportunities to write for films for the years because of FilmEd,” Valentine said. “It’s humbling giving an acceptance speech in front of hundreds of talented artists, and I’m very grateful to have been able to do so.”

Torrey and Lesser won awards in the Best Broadcast category for “WarriorTV.”

“I think with every year, FilmEd improves on the show and the [nominees] get more impressive. This year was special to me because a lot of friends and family came to support our school,” Torrey said. “Woodbridge High School students brought home the most awards in our school’s history.”