News Article

Student Film Wins Multiple Awards

Message of Hope during Covid Inspires VIewers

When was the last time our entire nation, or the entire world for that matter, felt united under one common cause? 

That was the question that propelled OCS film students Isabella Marasco and Micaela Kastor, juniors, to produce their award-winning “Hope: Surviving Covid, the Changing Normal,” a spoken word video essay based on a poem by OCS alumnae Alyson Choi, Class of ‘20. 

The film won “Outstanding Achievement in Directing” at the 2020 Calabasas Film Festival, “Best Message" at the 2020 Top Indie Film Awards and "Best Short Merit" from the Christian Family Film Fest. It has also been entered in other festivals and their film teacher, Andrew Christopher, anticipates it will continue to do well. 

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“I'm not at all surprised by their successes. Those two set the bar,” he shared. “They approach each project with a clear vision and focused effort to make the most of it. They represent exactly what we want from our students, using their skills to make a difference. More festival wins are coming for those two.” 

The pair gathered videos from around the world to show that through the differences and diversity of the human spirit hope can unite all people.  

“We were inspired to take on this topic through a film class assignment which allowed us the freedom to create any project with the overarching theme of hope. This message was so important to us because at the time we felt the global climate of unrest and uncertainty regarding COVID begin to quickly escalate. As one universal human body, we all need hope more than ever,” said Kastor. 

They credit the OCS film program, part of the OCS Institute of Arts and Innovation, as the platform that has allowed them to create and innovate in a learning and mentoring environment. 

“The film program at Oaks has inspired these projects in every way! We would not be able to imagine or create such impactful stories without the guidance and opportunities given by our teacher, Mr. Christopher. In addition, Oaks provided us with all the resources, support, and leadership needed to turn this concept into a finished piece. We feel continually blessed to be given the opportunities to work alongside such driven and inspiring people within our program,” Marasco shared. 

But it’s not just about awards and accolades or even creativity for its own sake. Marasco and Kastor hope viewers experience a sense of hope and unity about future generations, that young people can affect change in a chaotic world rocked by upheaval.  

“Our world is currently faced with many dire issues, but we truly believe as storytellers and as young adults that our generation has the genuine desire, capability, and relentlessness to create change beginning with this kindling of hope,” they shared. 

Kastor intends to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, but she will continue her passion for the editing room at her university of choice. Marasco hopes to pursue a career in entertainment law. They are currently working on a social injustice documentary on the media and how abuse of information, sensationalized news, and a misguided truth further polarizes and misinforms people in a time where unity and accurate communication should be of the utmost importance.