Breathe California Golden Gate announces the winners of the 6th Annual Clear The Air Film Fest. Over 75 films were submitted to the Film Fest this year and 18 finalist films were screened on March 4, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the New People Cinema in San Francisco, where the winners of the “Public Service Announcement (PSA)”, “Youth” and “High School” categories were announced. A “General Public”, “Audience Favorite” and “Overall Festival” winner were also awarded that evening. The Film Fest, now in its sixth year, strives to inspire young people to be a voice for their community and lend their unique perspectives to important lung and environmental health issues, using film as a medium for change.

For the 2017 Film Fest, Breathe California awarded $2,500 in prizes to filmmakers: $1,000 to the winner of the High School Category, $1,000 to the winner of the Youth Category and, $500 to the winner of the General Public Category. Plus for the first time this year, courtesy of CVS Health’s “Be the First” campaign, $700 in prizes was awarded to the top three PSA filmmakers sharing their vision of the first tobacco-free generation.

“Today we recognize the significant need to cultivate the next generation of lung health advocates, and use as many mediums as possible to reach the public in new ways through new outlets,” reflects Dr. Tanya Stevenson, President & CEO of Breathe California Golden Gate. “We offer our sincere gratitude for CVS Health’s leadership in creating tobacco-free pharmacies and supporting initiatives like Breathe California’s Clear The Air Film Fest to help develop the first tobacco-free generation. Congratulations to all of these young filmmakers who remind us that as individuals, families, and communities we can and must take steps now to improve the quality of our air and life!”

Five judges carefully selected the finalists and winners for each category based on the following criteria: creativity & originality, messaging, content, technical quality. The 2017 panel of judges included Gabriel Diamond, filmmaker and co-founder of The Factory; Lorene Alba, Senior Asthma Education and Communication Specialist at the California Department of Public Health; Lisa Fasano, Communication Officer for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District; Niema Jordon, writer, director, and producer from Oakland, CA, and Jennifer Leigh, Director of CSR & Philanthropy at CVS Health.

“I was so moved by the creativity shown in each of these films. It was difficult to select a winner!” said Film Fest judge Lorene Alba, AE-C. “These young filmmakers are using their talents to create a better world; a world that is smoke-free, where everyone has healthy lungs and breathes clean air. Their dedication to improving their communities is truly inspiring.”

The 2017 Finalists included:

PSA Category – Sponsored by CVS Health – “#BeTheFirst”

First Place and $300 Prize: “Don’t Erase Your Life Away” – Lorcan McSharp, John Lamm, Alex Kong, and Dao Lee
Second Place and $200 Prize: “Breaking the Chains” – Donovan Toney, Savanna Soto, Samantha De Alba, Alisa Moran, Logan Torosian, Angela Wesson, Nicholas Jackson, Alondra Carillo, Esperanza Ayon, and Leslie Alonso
Third Place (tie) and $100 Prize: “Don’t Smoke Your Breath Away” – Mitchell Rusitzky
Third Place (tie) and $100 Prize: “Stop Asthma” – Isabel Rusitzky, Christabel Campbell, and Mitchell Rusitzky
Fifty PSAs were submitted to the Breathe California/CVS Health statewide “Be the First” competition at the Breathe Youth Media Awards in Sacramento on February 25th and we are delighted to announce that “Breaking the Chains” took home the statewide 1st Place title in the Middle School category!

Youth Category

First Place and $1,000 Prize: “Put a Stop to Asthma” – Isabel Rusitzky, Christabel Campbell, and Mitchell Rusitzky
“Save the Planet” – Najeeba Shaikh and Xochitl Coleman
“Smoke or Choke” – Tyler Van Note, Meghan Van Note, and Colleen Van Note
“Redo” – Jordan Smith
“Air Quality” – Rishiraj Chowdhary and Ayaan Shah
High School Category

First Place and $1,000 Prize: “The Plastic Bottle Controversy Explained” – Jeffery Chen
“The Cigarette” – Patrick Yldefonzo and Will Karp
“Their Future” – Christopher Yldefonzo
“Better Days”- Emelia Arnheim
“The Grasp of Smoking” – Malia Jenkins
“We Are One” – Mandy Chan, Qixin Chen, and Angel Wu
“All Expenses Unpaid” – Shaun Riel
“CoZone” – Walter Zhao, Jack Phillips, Erick Liu
General Public Category

Winner and $500 Prize: “Fever Reliever” – Green Ninja team: David Chai, Maaike Scherff, Keith Silva, Mark Wanninger, Michael Salmassian, Crystal Cheng, Mike Cascino, Jordel Hurlow, Rikuto Sekiguchi, and Mark Sho
Audience Favorite Category

Winner and Gift Card to Borrow Lenses: “All Expenses Unpaid” – Shaun Riel
Overall Festival Winner

The Overall Festival Winner, “The Plastic Bottle Controversy – Explained” by Jeffery Chen from Burlingame High School, was announced by Rachel Caplan, Executive Director of the San Francisco Green Film Festival. Jeffery’s film will now be screened at the San Francisco Green Film Fest in April!

Together, these films offer a wide scope of perspectives on the topics of Air Quality & Environment, Tobacco Use, Asthma and General Lung Health and can each be viewed on Breathe California’s YouTube channel here: Breathe California will now use many of these films in youth environmental education and tobacco-awareness workshops.

Breathe California Golden Gate Announces Winners of the 6th Annual “Clear The Air Film Fest”