The Film ‘PB&J Productions’ wins at the MY HERO International Film Festival

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff


The 2023 Dan Eldon Student Activist Award has been awarded to students from the Global Studies Media Magnet at Cleveland Charter High School for their film ‘PB&J Productions Savannah Ackerman’, directed by Shelby Dahl and produced by Penelope Lee.

The film is an interview of Savannah Ackerman, the School’s Outreach Coordinator for Tree People. Said the filmmakers, “The purpose of this interview is to show how Tree People brings good into communities, and to teach others how to bring good into theirs.”

153276Savannah AckermanCleveland Charter High School  

The film came out of the school’s interdisciplinary and collaborative unit within its new initiative, the Global Media Studies Magnet program. The production team included students: Shelby Dahl, Penelope Lee, Gabriel Nevarez, Isaiah Fernandez, and Jaiden Cisneros.  

MY HERO interviewed Penelope (Penny) Lee and Shelby (Bee) Dahl about their film making journey:

Why were you drawn to making this film? 

I was drawn to making this film because it was the first-class project that allowed us to go outside of the school walls, and go out into the community. I found this project really interesting because we got to talk to real people with real life experiences. In my opinion, the importance of this film is to show how real heroes make an impact in this community. The purpose of our film is to achieve a better understanding of how we can all bring about meaningful change in our communities. This film shows that not all heroes have superpowers; that there are everyday heroes in all of our communities. - Penny

I was drawn to making this film because I’ve heard about Tree people while living in Los Angeles and I wanted to know more about how it started and what they do to help the community. - Bee

What in your opinion is the importance of the film, and what are its strengths?

One issue that is important to me is climate change/global warming. This is important to me because this is the Earth that I have to live and grow up in, and I don’t want climate change to become an irreversible problem before I’m even able to live as an adult. -Penny

For me, the importance of this film is to spread awareness about what the members at Tree people do and to help us prevent the yearly Los Angeles wildfires. - Bee

How did the idea for the film arise?

The idea for the film originally came from a class project assignment. Shelby suggested the organization “Tree People” and so we came up with some ideas about who to interview for this film as we all agreed on the positive impact that the Tree People have. -Penny

153276Cleveland Charter High SchoolThe Crew 

What were some of the challenges, successes, and high points?

We faced many challenges from filming outside. Factors such as lighting changes and wind made filming difficult. Communication also gave us some challenges as well. However, there were high points to this film. Savannah Ackerman was an amazing interviewee and so great to work with. -Penny

Making this film, though, was overall a really fun experience and our teacher Mr. Crossley helped make it possible. -Bee

Do you have a mentor or a personal hero?

One of our mentors/personal heroes is Pramuditha Madigapola. We could not have gotten through my freshman year without her. She was a senior when we were freshmen and she guided us through this journey of high school. She completely inspired us as filmmakers and students. – Penny

How important is it to you to win an award at the MY HERO 19th International Film Festival?

This award means so much to me as a filmmaker and as a student. To know that something we created won this award feels unreal as a high school student. -Penny

It is very important to me. I learned the importance of submitting films that I create even if I don’t think I'll win. It's important to put yourself out there even when you have self-doubt about succeeding. -Bee

Watch the film HERE.

The Dan Eldon Activist Award

Dan Eldon was a passionate activist, artist, and photojournalist. He was fearless in his quest to help others and in his desire to tell the stories that others were not telling. Tragically, at the age of twenty-two, Dan was killed while working as a photo-journalist in Somalia. His work has appeared in art journals and exhibitions, inspiring people around the world. Kathy Eldon of Creative Visions Foundation established the Dan Eldon Activist Award to honor her son's life and creative spirit. Each year Kathy presents the award to the filmmaker who best uses media to effect positive change in the world. 

The MY HERO International Film Festival

The MY HERO International Film Festival is an annual event dedicated to showcasing films of up to 10 minutes in length that celebrate the power of the human spirit. Categories include documentary, narrative, music video, experimental, and animation. There are Special Awards, with cash prizes, for films with themes of Peace, Activism, Women Transforming Media, Relationships, Immersive Storytelling, Youth Reporters, and Sing for Hope Music Videos.

Join the MY HERO Ceremonies:

November 18, 2023, at 2 PM PST: Philanthropist and mentor Eva Haller is hosting the Virtual Awards Ceremony for The 19th Annual MY HERO International Film Festival as part of her weekly salon series. You can register your interest HERE.

Sunday, November 19th @ 10:30 am: The Celebration of Winners is a family friendly virtual event held on the Sunday where clips of films will be shown from select first place winners in a variety of categories including: Student Awards - Elementary, Middle, High School & College, Animation, Documentary, Narrative, Experimental, Trailer, Humanitarian, Poetic, Human Rights, Environmental, Immersive Storytelling Award, and more. You can register your interest HERE.

Page created on 11/16/2023 1:48:44 PM

Last edited 11/17/2023 3:05:45 PM