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Film Studies
John Lessard
Program Director
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211

Outstanding Students

At the end of the year, each of the academic departments and interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Pacific honors a truly exceptional graduating senior or group of seniors with the Outstanding Graduate Award. This award is given to students who have not only earned a consistently high academic record, but who have also been actively involved in the discipline through activities, research, or special projects.

Congratulations to our 2014 Outstanding Graduate: Melyss Astorga

Meet our former Outstanding Graduates

Our 2012 Outstanding Graduate: Stephanie Mohr

Stephanie Mohr received broad training in film theory and criticism, film production, and screenwriting.  She's also acted and has been part of production teams of student short films. Stephanie has worked as a teaching assistant in production courses and has written film criticism essays that were presented at student research conferences. Outside of her studies, Stephanie tutored young children in Swaziland, introducing them to the arts and performance.

Stephanie received a prestigious internship at the Second City playhouse in Chicago, and completed her MFA in film at Northwestern University.

Our Outstanding 2011 Graduate: Caroline Taylor

Caroline Taylor attened the graduate program in Film Production at Columbia University. She was also accepted into the M.F.A. program at University of Southern California (USC). These schools, which offer three-year M.F.A. programs, are ranked one and two as the best graduate film programs in the country, and they are highly selective. Caroline was an extraordinary student, both in her knowledge of film aesthetics, history, and theory, as well as in her focused interest in film direction, writing, and production. She served as a teaching assistant for Drs. Borden and Lessard in the large film courses.

Student Accolades

A short film made by two of our film students won one of the top honors at the 2009 Sundial Film Festival in Redding, California. The movie, "Baba Yaga," was made by students Eric Pace and Philips Shum. Based on a Slavik fairy tale, the film presents viewers with a captivating coming-of-age tale of a young woman who learns to be kind and self-reliant.

Baba Yaga

Filming of Baba Yaga

Philips, who wrote the screenplay, was accepted into the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts graduate program. Eric directed the movie and is currently a student at Pacific.

The year before, "Baba Yaga" won the awards for best screenplay and best cinematography in the Pacific Student Film Festival. Their entry in the Sundial Festival was the first time both students had ever submitted a film to a film festival outside of college.

"The film successfully used creative special effects, makeup and locations to further the narrative and characters," said Patti McCarthy, film professor at Pacific. "Philips and Eric are exceptional filmmakers, and I know this is only the first of many awards in their collective careers."

Voiced: South Africa

Documentary Produced by Pacific Students

Graham Howes and Emily Sheldon in South Africa
Graham Howes (left) and Emily Sheldon with a new friend.

Film student Graham Howes '08 and Emily Sheldon '10, who majored in Political Science and Gender Studies, traveled to South Africa and produced a documentary of their exploration of the AIDS epidemic there. The 96-minute film, which premiered in Pacific's Janet Leigh Theatre in April 2010, focuses on the stories of people in South Africa infected with HIV and others affected by the disease.

Graham, a Music Management major and Film minor, directed and edited the documentary, which he may enter in a film festival. He also wrote the music for the film.

Dr. Patti McCarthy, who assisted with the project, said, "The way Graham has been able to capture the the essence of the human spirit under adversity and the lives of the people of South Africa affected by this terrible disease is a testament to his craft and art."

View a trailer of the documentary.