By, Denise Hensley
For Junior Allison Ramirez, filmmaking is her passion and that passion inspired her into submitting two films that won her first place in two competitions.
The contests were run by fundakid.org, a nonprofit organization pursuing a goal to support youth from K-12 in extracurricular activities, and the Belmont/Coastside Teen Film Festival at the Belmont Library. The fundakid.org contest required her to express her love for the Bay Area while the Teen Film Festival did not have any set themes so she was free to submit any video that she created.
“I decided to enter the fundakid contest from a flyer I saw in Mr. Cruickshank’s classroom,” stated Allison. As soon as she read the flyer, she compiled footage from her sister’s San Francisco outings and her own videos and edited it. Afterwards, she uploaded the video on YouTube and emailed the organization the link to her video.
The Teen Film Festival, on the other hand, required much more work. Allison originally wanted to submit a documentary about the Oceana wrestling team but ran out of time because the PAL Wrestling Final was set the day before the contest deadline. Instead, she chose to create a trailer for the documentary which she titled “MatMen” and also decided to turn in a video she made a year prior called “I Wish.”
Allison created “I Wish” about her parents not approving of a video she worked hard on and connected it to the difficulties people run into when attempting to achieve their aspirations. She was worried about submitting this video because she did not want her parents to think she was disrespecting them. However, “I didn’t sleep that night; I just kept on thinking about stuff I had watched on the internet. Somehow during that sleepless night, I put a bunch of ideas together and thought of “I Wish,”” admitted Allison. She made up her mind and emailed both “I Wish” and the trailer of “MatMen” to the Teen Film Festival.
Allison didn’t expect to win either competition. She sent in her films because she wanted to share her filmmaking talent and was proud of all the time and effort she spent on them. Allison also adds that “To me, watching twenty or more hours of footage, then putting it into a polished product never really seemed like a challenge.” When she feels as if she is lacking motivation, she thinks of her family and friends and is inspired all over again because they support and encourage her.
The San Francisco video is filled her with childhood memories of her and her sister while “I Wish” reminded her how difficult it was to continue pursuing her dream as a filmmaker. But she hasn’t stopped chasing her dreams.
Allison is currently working on her “MatMen” documentary which has been a six month process so far. This year, Allison is also in charge of organizing BAM’s Shark Fin Film Festival that will showcase student created videos. She wants to bring more recognition to filmmaking because she believes that it deserves to be appreciated alongside other arts such as dancing, singing, solid mediums, etc.
When asked about how she felt about her recent accomplishments, Allison responded “I feel like a celebrity. I still can’t believe it. I received both awards in the same day and I was honored first place for both of them. Kind of seems like a dream come true. I’ve always been the runner-up in contests I’ve entered. It made me feel like I was in some kind of dream sequence, but remembering how real each congratulation felt has made me wake up to the reality.”
You can see most of Allison’s work on her youtube channel.