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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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10-10-10 competition at SBIFF showcases meaningful student films

Claire Geriak
From left, Enzo Peluffo, Sofia Parisotto, Moth Strelow and Houston Sasselli gleam after being selected for the screenwriting and filmmaking awards for the 10-10-10 on Feb. 17 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in Santa Barbara, Calif. The reoccuring competition gets ten high school students and ten college students to create a film around a chosen topic, with the 2024 theme being “forgiveness.”

The 39th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival continued to uphold its incredible reputation this year, with roughly 200 films screened and upwards of 100,000 attendees. 

As the festival came to its tenth and final day, local student filmmakers showcased their talents in the annual 10-10-10 Screenwriting and Filmmaking competition. Over the course of five months, 10 high school students and 10 college students intricately crafted short films revolving around this year’s theme: forgiveness. To make this competition more accessible this year, all films were shot on cell phones. 

The films in the high school category were “Double Date,” “Unsportsmanlike Conduct,” “Forward,” “Don’t Come Back,” and “Happy Trails.” Each film navigated its way through the theme of forgiveness, creating humorously loveable characters that entertained the audience. 

Santa Barbara High School student Haven Lindsey directed the film “Forward.” Juggling the struggles between friendship and romance, this film focuses on navigating adolescence through the eyes of three conflicting characters.

From left, Albert DiCesare, Bryce Lyons, Amelia Kazmierczak and Tyra Jerberg embrace after the 10-10-10 film presentation on Feb. 17 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in Santa Barbara, Calif. The four students represented UCSB and SBCC for screenwriting and filmmaking. (Claire Geriak)

“I had no formal practice before applying for the 10-10-10 competition,” Lindsey said. “I drew film inspiration from my friends and made something I’m proud of. The exposure of standing on stage was intimidating, but I loved the experience.”  

Enzo Pelufoo, a Santa Barbara High School student, won in the filmmaking category, and Sofia Parisotta from Bishop Garcia Diego High School won the screenwriting award. 

The short films rolled for nearly two hours, with every film igniting a new round of roaring applause from thrilled students, proud parents, and an admiring audience. 

The films in the college category were “Play Acting,” “Dionysia,” “Hand Me Downs,” “No Really, I’m Perfect,” and “Rock Solid.” The filmmakers worked within the bounds of using cell phones as a medium and created scenes indistinguishable from a professional lens.  

Santa Barbara City College student Sayfe Alzubaidee, who wrote and directed “Dionysia,” received high praise from his peers. The film takes a psychological twist, leaving the audience completely enthralled in its intenseness. 

“Being both the screenwriter and director was a unique experience that I knew I had to take advantage of,” Alzubaidee said. “Having full creative control from pitching to screening was a great privilege. I was proud of every second that went into the film. The film isn’t mine; it belongs to everyone who’s had a part in it.” 

Moth Strelow, a student at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), was the college screenwriting award winner, and her peer, Houston Sasseli, won the college filmmaking award. 

Honestly, I get really excited thinking about where things might go in the future, where I might end up, and where my fellow filmmakers might as well,” Strelow wrote in an email interview. “I by no means expected to win, in fact, I’d resigned myself to not winning months prior, so when my name was called, I fully thought I was imagining it.”

Experiences like this can pave the way for the future filmmakers of our world. Students like Sterlow come to the festival as a way to pursue their dreams, and by utilizing the opportunities presented by the 10-10-10 competition, these aspirations are nurtured into reality. 

Applications are free and open to all, running through the fall of 2024, providing industry professional mentors and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for future student filmmakers.

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