Sonoma County Office of Education

Student films impress at Five Minute Film Festival

04/07/2017 -

Some of Sonoma County's finest K-12 filmmakers wowed a packed theater of about 250 people, including celebrity judges, at the Third Annual Five Minute Film Festival, hosted April 3 by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE). The 15 movies shown were the best of the best. They were selected from 124 submissions that schools from all around Sonoma County sent to SCOE after holding film festivals on their campuses to narrow down an even broader number of student creations. Of those, a panel of celebrity judges selected a winner from each of three divisions. As well, audience members voted by phone to choose an overall audience choice winner. The winners are:

High School Division
“We Love You No Matter What”
By Santa Rosa High School juniors Andy Huey and Evan Mason-White, Santa Rosa Students recorded a teacher reading a poem he wrote to his students about love and acceptance and matched it with stunning imagery of SRHS students.

Middle School Division
“The Peculiar World of Arnold James”
By Altimira Middle School sixth graders, Henry Brown and Eddy Munoz, Sonoma Two students made a humorous animated film about a stick figure who gains independence from the artist who created him.

Elementary School Division
“The Discovery in the Grove”
By Oak Grove Elementary second and fifth graders, Johnna and Heather Schubert, Santa Rosa/Sebastopol Two students dramatized their process of learning about and interviewing Ms. Hallberg of Hallberg Butterfly Garden, who has since passed away.

Audience Choice
“A Better Place - A Movie About the Importance of Insects”
By Oak Grove Elementary second graders: Gracie Ascoop, Catcher Bettinelli, Dylan Brown, Darby Diaz, Leo Ducker, Syon Gabriel, James Gannon, Declan Goodson, Hollie Hemphill, Aidyn Johnson, Tomas McCarthy, Matthew Medina, Rosalie Morris, Michael Morrissy, Hannah Perry, Elaine Pitts, Olive Rich, Marshall Saneholtz, Willow Tomiser, Oona VanSlambrouck

“Our audience and judges were very impressed with quality of all the films this year,” said Matt O’Donnell, Tech Innovation Specialist at SCOE and the event organizer. “From the concepts to the camerawork and cinematography, all the films were very strong.”

He added that he was inspired by the number of compelling personal stories told this year, perhaps brought out by the theme of discovery.


Third Street Cinema in Santa Rosa hosted the screening, which was designed to mirror the Oscars ceremony with a red-carpet entry and special seating for the young filmmakers. Students grades 1-12, from a diverse sampling of Sonoma County schools, showed up in their finest attire and were interviewed about their films as they entered. The event organizers at SCOE thanked Catherine DePrima of Santa Rosa Entertainment Group and Russell Burke, general manager of the theater, for donating the space and creating a professional and seamless night for the filmmakers.

Each of their films were shown in front of a packed audience that included teachers, parents, principals, and judges. Each student or group of student filmmakers received feedback from the judging panel.

The topic for next year’s film festival will be “community.” To learn more about the festival and how to get involved, visit