CHS filmmakers on the big screen at Laemmle

festival at the Laemmle Claremont 5. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

by Andrew Alonzo |

The Laemmle Claremont 5 Theatre hosted a special screening of 22 short films and public service announcements by Claremont High School’s advanced placement video production and broadcast journalism courses on Wednesday.

The nascent student directors were thrilled to see their work on the big screen.

Claremont High student filmmakers sell tickets Wednesday at the Laemmle Claremont 5. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

“This whole night, it’s really a dream come true,” said CHS senior and budding filmmaker Hannah Swiatek. “As someone who has dealt with a lot of insecurities, it’s just really amazing to see.”

The goal of the evening was to not only highlight the students’ efforts, but also bring sensitive issues such as mental health to the forefront of the conversation, said Sara Hills, Claremont High’s cinematic arts and broadcast journalism instructor.

Short films included “PC.01” directed by Swiatek; “Operation Ignorant Bliss” by sophomore Quinn Smith; “Pineapple Pitstop” by junior Naomi Flowers; and “Finding Friends,” “What If?” “The Quest for the Jackets,” “Panic! At the High School,” “Snake Eyes,” “Dodging Bills 2,” “A Journey through the Wasteland,” as well as 11 PSAs about suicide prevention, tobacco use, vaping, mental health awareness, and other important topics.

Steven Swiatek, left, demonstrates the movement of a prop from his daughter Hannah’s film “PC.01” to theatergoers on Wednesday. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

Seven PSAs were honored by the Directing Change California program and film contest earlier this month: “The Gifts You Can Give,” honorable mention, mental health PSAs, and special recognition for scripting; “We’ve Never Been Closer,” third place, suicide prevention PSAs, and the team pick to advance to state; “Light,” honorable mention, suicide prevention PSAs; and “Life in Time Lapse,” second place, mental health PSAs.


Seams,” directed by Kathryn Ray, took first place overall in state for the 2023 animated shorts category and both “A Night Out” and “Get Help” were region three honorable mentions in mental health PSAs. To view the award-winning PSAs, visit

The audience of over 100 included student filmmakers, their friends, CHS faculty and staff. Proceeds from the 140 tickets sold — about $1,200 — went toward theater rental, with any remaining funds donated back to CHS film programs.


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