Chaminade Filmmakers Celebrated at Calabasas Film Festival

Chaminade filmmakers were celebrated on September 25 at the Calabasas Film Festival, taking home two awards at the Student Film screening. CURVEBALL won for Best Ensemble, and Passion Washington won Best Writing for ON IN FIVE. “It feels good knowing that a film I made is able to be selected for a festival,” says Passion. “I think it’s an uplifting story. The theme is to never give up and never stop trying and that resonates with people.” This is Passion’s second year in a row winning at the Calabasas Film Festival — last year, she took home the award for Best Editing.

The Calabasas Film Festival showcases major film premieres, student films, documentaries, and top-quality film selections from all genres.

Luke Rawnskey ’24, Nathan Michael ’24, and Passion Washington ’23 attended the festival with their families and film teacher, Ms. Karen Ann Thumm. “We are so proud of our Chaminade filmmakers!” says Ms. Thumm. “Their films looked great on the big screen!”

The following Chaminade films were selected for the Calabasas Film Festival, which was held September 21-25. You can watch all these plus more on the Chaminade Studios YouTube channel.

  • ON IN FIVE, Created by Abby Lopez, Passion Washington, Miles Morewitz, Nathan Michael, and Lorenzo Ghaffari with Sophia Nations
  • CURVEBALL, Created by Charlee Friedman, Abby Lopez, Chapin Reece, Branden Hollenstein-Davis, and Christopher Fase
  • HOW I SEE YOU AGAIN, Created by Cici Fang
  • HUNDRED BUCKS, Created by Roman Daponde, Hogan Henze, Bradley Rosenthal, Xian Dean, and Jack Quirk
  • MONITORED, Created by Drew Duncan, Lola Marks, Kiera Durand, Grace Rissolo, Natalie Djie, and Luke Rawnsley
  • WANTED, Created by Passion Washington, Mia Elizondo, Nick Cuevas, Chapin Reece, Gio Gonzalez, and Michael Carpenter
  • YOUR LITTLE GIRL, Created by Hannah Sperling

Chaminade Film Wins “Best Editing” at Calabasas Film Festival

Filmmakers Aidan Hall ’19, Matthew Stewart ’19, and Robert Shainsky ’19 took home the prize for “Best Editing” in the category of Student Film at the 4th annual Calabasas Film Festival. The award was one of only five prizes given for exceptional achievement in student filmmaking. They produced their short film “iSolation” in their Film II last year.

The film “iSolation” was produced by Stewart, written and filmed by Hall, and edited by Shainsky, with additional editing by Hall and Stewart. The film stars Jater Webb (’20) and Natalie Rowland (’17) and can be seen on the Chaminade Film Program YouTube Channel at:

Overall, four films created by Chaminade students were selected for the student film program in the festival and were screened for an audience in the Calabasas Hall on Sunday, September 17th. To be eligible for the student category, students must be currently enrolled in one of these schools: Chaminade, Viewpoint, Calabasas High School, Agoura High, Louisville, Oaks Christian, and El Camino. The four films selected from the Chaminade entries represented the work of Andy Dyer ’18, Carter Williams ’18, Mike Mariano ’18, Louis Gerny ’18, Justin Thomas ’18, Luke Macias ’18, and Tony Restivo ’18.

The Calabasas Film Festival ran for five days, beginning on Wednesday evening, September 13 and continuing through the weekend. More information on the festival can be found at:

Chaminade Student Wins at Calabasas Film Festival


Jareth Kirkham is the Best Screenwriting Award winner in the Student Film Program at the Calabasas Film Festival.

Jareth Kirkham ’18 took home the prize for Best Screenwriting in the Student Film Program at the 3rd annual Calabasas Film Festival. His narrative short film Incognito, a class assignment produced for Film II last spring, tells the story of a boy who believes he has witnessed an alien spaceship land in his neighborhood. The award was one of only five prizes given for exceptional achievement in student filmmaking.

The 20 films selected for the Student Film Program on Sunday, September 25 came from more than 100 submissions from area students. To be considered for the Student Program in the festival, students must be currently enrolled in one of these schools: Chaminade College Preparatory, Viewpoint School, Calabasas High School, Agoura High School, Louisville High School, Oaks Christian School, or El Camino Real Charter High School.

Ten of the 20 films selected for the Student Program were created by current Chaminade students: Cole Hanson ’17, Natalie Rowland ’17, Isabelle Bryan ’17, Dylan Lusetich ’17, Andy Dyer ’18, Cooper North ’18, Jareth Kirkham ’18, Louis Gerny ’18, Brendan Barlow ’18, Asa Nam ’18, Claire Rider ’18, Rebecca Steinberg ’18, Luke Macias ’18, Nick Polydoros ’18, Stephanie Ciceri ’18, Kyle Chapman ’18, Thomas Kurganov ’18, Hayden Smart ’18, Carter Williams ’18, Mike Mariano ’18, and Nick Sarullo ’17.

In addition to writing the script for Incognito, Kirkham also directed it. The film was produced by Andy Dyer, who accepted the award on Jareth’s behalf at the festival. Thomas Kurganov was the cinematographer, and Stephanie Ciceri edited the film, which can be screened on the Chaminade Film Program YouTube Channel.

The Calabasas Film Festival ran for five days, beginning on Wednesday evening, September 21 and continuing through the weekend. More information on the festival can be found at

Chaminade Film Festival 2016

By Karen Ann Thumm, Film Program Director

The Chaminade Film Festival celebrated the best work of Chaminade’s talented filmmakers on Saturday, February 20. At the opening of the evening, Film Club President, Nick Brosamle ’16 welcomed the audience with the following:

“Good evening. Thank you for coming to Chaminade’s Annual Film Festival. This is my fourth and final Film Festival, and it has really been a special experience to see our Film Program grow over the past years. As you will see tonight, the films that our program produces at all levels are truly fantastic. I believe that this festival gives us a unique opportunity that can rarely be found anywhere else. Personally, it has given me the confidence to showcase my filmmaking ability to my peers.

I remember when I was an 8th grader visiting Chaminade for the first time. I enjoyed my tour, but nothing had quite hooked me on the school – that is, until I visited the film room. Multiple students were editing various movies and a student made film was playing on Ms. Thumm’s TV as she gave us details about Chaminade’s film classes. Everything about it was very professional and creative, and I immediately felt at home. Since that day I have developed as a filmmaker in ways I could never have at any other school, as the program has challenged me to explore all aspects of filmmaking. Nothing more exemplifies the strength of the Chaminade film program than this festival, which gives all of us the chance to share our love for the movies.”

Twenty-eight finalists were selected from a record number of entries and showcased on the big screen in the Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts. Most of these films were produced by film students while enrolled in film classes. Each year, more than 500 film projects are created by students in all levels of film here at Chaminade. The festival is only a sampling of the best work the students have created during the previous 12 months, the films they feel most proud of producing.

If you missed the festival – or if you simply want to see one of the films again – all of the winning films and finalists have been posted to the Chaminade Film YouTube Channel.

The evening concluded with an award ceremony to recognize the best film in each category and also the outstanding achievements in every part of the filmmaking process.

Best Documentary
“Just a Cop”
created by Alek Solter

Best Drama
“The Dilemma”
Written and directed by Zach Swauger with Cooper North, Brendan Barlow, Alek Solter and Cameron Ring

Best Comedy
“Nade Wars”
Produced by the Advanced Film Workshop students Brandon Marsh, Sophia Khan, Mark Alcasid, Nick Brosamle, Dante Kargodorian, Thomas Price, Cole Hanson, and Griffin Freitas

Best Visual Poem
“Open Sesame”
Created by Thomas Price

Best Short Short
“My Girl”
Created by Nick Brosamle

Official Audience Selection
“My Girl”
Created by Nick Brosamle

Outstanding Achievement Awards:

Outstanding Achievement: Original Concept
Cole Hanson for “Locked In”

Outstanding Achievement: Story
Kelsey Molle for “Love In Death”

Outstanding Achievement: Story
Claire Rider, Isabelle Huang, and Rebecca Steinberg for “Strictly Dance”

Outstanding Achievement: Cinematography
Noah Hosaka for “FRC Robotics”

Outstanding Achievement: Cinematography
Ali Watson for “Self Portrait”

Outstanding Achievement: Cinematography
Tom Deily for “547”

Outstanding Achievement: Sound and music editing
Brendan Barlow for “It Beats Workin'”

Outstanding Achievement: Acting – Comedy
Cooper North in “Slap Tag”

Outstanding Achievement: Acting – Drama
Lindsey Hebert in “Hurt”

Outstanding Achievement: Production Design
“Uno” created by Zach Swauger, Steve Restivo, Tony Restivo, Dante Kargodorian

Outstanding Achievement: Production Design
“The Fantastic Proposal” created by Ryan Town

Outstanding Achievement: Editing
Isabelle Bryan for “An Introspective Mind”

Outstanding Achievement: Editing
Cameron Ring for “Slap Tag”

Outstanding Achievement: Directing
Bryce Hurless for “547”

Chaminade Filmmaker 2016
Alek Solter

Chaminade Filmmakers Win Award at NFFTY

By Karen Ann Thumm
Chaminade Film Program Director

The film “Blind Ambitions” won the award for being the best film in its category at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth. Affectionately known as NFFTY (pronounced “nifty”) by the festival attendees, the four-day festival showcased more than two hundred films and represented filmmakers from 26 countries. Many of the films were made by students currently enrolled in college film programs, making it an honor just to be among the films selected for the festival.

The film “Blind Ambitions”  was created as an assignment for film class, a first semester storytelling assignment that challenges students to create a film without any dialogue. The production team includes Director Ryan Town ’16, Producer Colette Mendoza ’17, Cinematographer Louis Gerny ’18, and Editor Noah Hosaka ’18. The film tells the story of a mime who struggles between having a successful career and pursuing a possible romance with a blind woman he sees at the park. As a silent film, an original score by Alex Mansour ’15 sets the tone for the character’s struggle.

NFFTY is the world’s largest film festival for filmmakers under the age of 24. The student filmmakers traveled to Seattle for the opening night gala on Thursday, April 23, and attended screenings, panel discussions with industry professionals, and master classes in screenwriting and directing during the weekend. The festival was an opportunity to celebrate filmmaking in all of its facets, and our Chaminade filmmakers enjoyed meeting fellow filmmakers from all over the world.

The film also stars Chaminade students — Thanos Brunson ’16 is the mime who falls in love with the Blind Girl, who played by Carmen Cabral ’18. You can see the film for yourself on the Chaminade Film YouTube channel at this link: