Orange Skies from the Eastside: Elijah’s Story

November 23, 2021

The experience of the film festival in New York City was an experience and unlike any other I’ve ever had. Going into my senior year of high school, I did not know what to expect when it came to school in general let alone my Multimedia II class. Just like many others, we had an online class, and through Mr. Cavada’s guidance and persistence, I was able to make a film through WeVideo on a topic that I thought was important to not only me but people like me who come from where I come from.

Through these mediums I was able to tell my mother’s story of her life in the east side of San Jose and the way it’s impacted her over time. At the time I thought nothing of the film, passing it off as just another assignment in Mr. Cavada’s class. But during the summer I was notified that Mr. Cavada had submitted the films to the All American High School Film Festival and my film, along with three other students’ films, had been chosen to be shown at the festival in New York City. That alone made me glad of the project I had made and felt confident with my abilities, but then it got even better. I had been told that we were all going to New York to watch the films! Wow, I had never been that far from home let alone anywhere that wasn’t on the west coast.

On an introspective level, New York represented a dream — a dream of heights bigger than anything I have achieved before.

The trip to New York was special to me for many different reasons. To me, it meant a world of opportunity being opened. It showed me the world on a broader scale and let me know that there was importance in the work I had created. My mother joined me on the trip and that meant a lot to me because she was able to see her son’s work being recognized at a national film festival. It was also her first time in New York, as well, and exploring the city with my mother was special to me for that reason. I felt like I had made my mother proud.

On an introspective level, New York represented a dream — a dream of heights bigger than anything I have achieved before. To me, New York was a new accomplishment. It showed me truly how diverse and big the world was — broader than anything I could’ve seen in just the East Side alone. It made me want to reach new heights and continue to pursue film. As they say, if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere, and being there in person experiencing the city really gave me an energy within myself to pursue my dreams. It gave me the confidence that I really needed to continue to become a filmmaker and creative.

Editor’s Note:

This is Part 3 of KCI’s Student Media Collaboration Blog Series highlighting the amazing partnership between KCI, East Side Union High School District, and Foothill College and produced on the WeVideo platform. Stay tuned for more news from the students and community members impacted by this amazing project.

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