MBHS Filmfest Showcases Student Filmmaking Talent 

By Claire Wilson 

May 20, 2024
(Photo credit: Rogelio Castillo Jr.)

On Monday night, students, parents, teachers, and community members filled the Morro Bay Theater as MBHS held its annual film festival. The student-run festival showcased the talent of 22 student filmmakers in categories ranging from comedy to horror. Over 50 students submitted films in April, and a screening panel made up entirely of students decided on three films from each category to be shown at the festival. On Monday night, a panel of local film professionals and MBHS teachers Mr. Fahy and Ms. Coiner, judged the films and chose a winner for each category as well as an overall winner. Students attending the festival voted on their favorite film to be given the Pirate’s Choice award. 

The first category shown was animation. In Your Face by junior Noah Moreno told the story of a high schooler Trace, who takes his younger sister to the park and is met by strange-looking dog people. The film ends with a twist and was received by the audience with a mix of surprise and horror. Moreno says, “I get really inspired by other independent short filmmakers online. I really like horror and kind of mixing different kinds of media, that's why I use Photoshop for faces as well as 2d animation.” Moreno won best in animation. 

In the comedy category, She Just Won’t Stop Farting by sophomore Emerson Jaquay told the story of a girl who can't stop farting and is bullied by her peers. When she meets another girl who can’t stop farting, the two immediately hit it off and begin a heartwarming (and smelly) friendship. The film was extremely well-received, and won the best in comedy award. Jaquay also submitted films in the horror and drama categories. Her drama film Snapshot, about a magical skateboard, was created for the SLO Film Fest 48 Hour Film challenge. “I really just thought about how a lot of people are in this kind of continuous loop,” she says. “School, coming home, doing homework, go to bed, wake up, do it all again. But we all kind of need that little thing to break us out of that loop sometimes and that could be a magical skateboard.”

Junior Nicole Garner’s film Whispers of the Mind, was chosen as the winner of the drama category. The film is about a pair of mind-reading sunglasses that are left on Payton, the main character’s doorstep. Varado, winner of the foreign film category, is about three girls stranded on an island and their adventures. It was made by freshman Emily Cordes, Lucia Raya, and Ella Meyer. The winner of the miscellaneous category was Ella Bettencourt’s documentary Local Music, about the Central Coast music scene. The film shows interviews of local bands, musicians, and a music store owner. 

Senior Sid Christensen's film Fresh won best in the horror category. The film follows a girl who orders a pizza from a restaurant with a creepy cashier. When she leaves the restaurant, she is followed and killed by the man to be made into pizza. The film also won the Pirate’s choice award. 

The overall best film award went to Eli Waldman and Thomas Standridge’s film Trashman. The unique film follows a man made of trash as he buys salt and vinegar chips and bananas from a grocery store, walks along the water in Morro Bay, and finally walks himself to a trash can. Although there is no dialogue, Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor plays in the background throughout the film. The trash suit is one of the most impressive aspects of the film. Standridge says, “the trash suit took at least 12 hours [to make]. It probably took longer to make the trash suit that we actually spent filming.” 

This year’s filmfest was a huge success thanks to the hard work and dedication students put into their films and support from their teachers and community. You can watch the film finalists here. 

The panel of judges (Photo credit: Rogelio Castillo Jr.)
MCs Lucas Huss and Josslyn Finch (Photo credit: Rogelio Castillo Jr.)
The winning filmmakers pose after awards are given out (Photo credit: Rogelio Castillo Jr.)