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MAD Celebrates 2nd Annual Film Festival

On Friday night last week, four SBHS students got the chance to walk the red carpet in our very own theater. Each was the recipient of the Moscar, a trophy celebrating their achievement in one of four categories: Creative Excellence, Technical Excellence, Best Music Video, and Best Narrative. What was the event? The MAD Film Festival, of course! Every year, the filmmakers of the MAD Academy showcase their best work on the big screen. These films are always exceptional examples of video production, and this year was no different. Each category was presented by hosts from the MAD Academy: Nicole Buist, Grady Walsh, Ahtziri Bernal-Castro, and Bodhi Etz. They introduced every category excellently, and created an element of suspense for the audience before finally announcing the winner. A panel of five judges decided the victors in each category: Shea Peinado (director of the MAD Academy), Dean De Phillipo (MAD Facilities manager), Kate Hodges (MAD Family Engagement and Partnership Liaison), Adam Jahnke (professor of photography at CSUCI), and Carlo Maguire (MAD alumni and current student at Chapman University). All regarded as professionals in their field, they analyzed each film for the subtlest of storytelling and filmic details, and named the victor in each category.

They are:

Creative Excellence: “BioBond,” directed by Sheena Rock. “Yes, I knew it, I knew it, I’ve been hyping myself up for a week,” Rock commented on the victory, while holding up her Moscar. “Sam’s performance was absolutely incredible…I couldn’t have done it without her.” The film tells the story of a cyborg trapped within her own mind, who takes revenge on her captor. It’s lip synced, and edited together to make a hard hitting heavy metal masterpiece. “If you have passion for this, this is an amazing resource and learning experience. I’m honored to be MAD alumni.”

Technical Excellence: “Hey Mom,” directed by Roark Norton. Aiden Mullen, an actor in “Hey Mom” stated, “My favorite part of yours was when I had to say roll with the chunks.” “We were improvising a lot of that,” said one actor, “Not a lot of the film, but it was when he was rolling with the chunks.” The short follows a student helping their mom get over a divorce. When all seems lost, a mystical hippie materializes and reassures the student that everything will be alright. You just have to “roll with the chunks.”

Best Music Video: “Eleanor Rigby,” directed by Enzo Peluffo. “My favorite part was definitely the cave shot that we did, [it] was the staple of the film,” reflected Peluffo. “We saw the little cave, and then we actually went inside, and it turned out to be an amazing shot.” His one regret? “I would get a gimbal. Most of the shots were so shaky and I was like ‘Oh my god this is going to cost me everything.’” It didn’t end up costing Peluffo much at all, as he walked away with a Moscar. His music video tells the classic story of Eleanor Rigby, using a theatrical remix of the song. Peluffo left with a comment on the MAD Academy: “If there’s any junior highers coming to school and they feel discouraged to join MAD… do not! We want people, and we want diversity in our Academy.”

Best Narrative: “The Last Ride,” directed by Aidan Mullen. “It was definitely the last day, skating down Gibraltar, it was kinda the main part of my film,” decided Mullen when asked what his favorite part of the film was. “It was super fun because it was something we would do anyways, we were just filming what we do.” “The Last Ride” takes place in Santa Barbara, where two friends face the prospect of being separated by one friend’s move to a place called “Edgewater.” “It’s gotta be the one where I’m on the phone and I say mango ghost haze vape,” joked Haller, reflecting on his favorite moment from the film. Oliver Levine encouraged fellow MAD Academy students to “Actually try [to do well] on your music videos, and on your films. It’s a whole lot better when your film gets nominated in front of this whole crowd, than in a classroom setting, so just think of that, think of your film as one that’s going to be shown in this setting.”

Oliver Levine, Garret Haller, and Aiden Mullen speaking to The Forge

Overall, it was an incredibly memorable night, complete with a red carpet, merchandise, a photo booth, and much more, including a showcase of digitally designed student art. It will be available to watch on MAD Academy’s Vimeo page next school year. The MAD Film Festival is an annual event, and will open again next year for any MAD students who would like to send their favorite films to the big screen, and possibly even walk away with a Moscar.

[Photos Courtesy of the MAD Academy]


  • Cole Weaver

    Cole Weaver is a junior at Santa Barbara High School and staff writer for The Forge. He enjoys history and science, and mostly publishes articles related to those topics. Cole hopes his articles will assist in forming a more active and informed public.

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