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Santa Monica College Student Film Wins Top Prize at International Festival


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By Lookout Staff

August 11, 2017 -- A Santa Monica College student film that focuses on the impact of the Mexican drug trade on innocent children has won the Best Student Film Award at the 2017 Prague Independent Film Festival (PIFF), college officials announced this week.

The second annual festival, which was held August 3 to 6 in the Czech Republic capital, presents the most innovative and original motion pictures made by young and established directors, officials said.

“Muñecas,” a short film written and directed by SMC student Osvaldo (Ozzy) Ozuna, explores life on the US-Mexican border for a young student whose family is caught up in the drug trade.
Munecas Film Poster

“I wanted to showcase the involvement of the innocents in this situation, which affects whole families,” says Ozuna. “Children are being used as mules by the drug cartels.”

The film's setting and theme are taken from Ozuna's experience as the son of Mexican immigrants who moved to the United States from Ensenada, Baja California to escape the drug trade when he was 10.

At SMC's Film Production Program, Ozuna merged his passion for music and the arts developed while attending middle and high school.

"At SMC, I saw articles about students having their films shown at Cannes,” Ozuna said.

“I’ve always had an interest in film, so I thought, ‘Well, the tools are here. I might as well try something I’m truly passionate about.’”

Salvador Carrasco, who heads SMC's film program, said "Munecas" is a timely statement.

“As evidenced by its recent win at the Prague Independent Film Festival, the cinematic landscape of ‘Muñecas’ speaks to audiences because it is a microcosm of communities in a complex world where borders are both prominent and also vanishing," Carrosco said.

After an intership at Village Roadshow Pictures, Ozuna was recently hired as a writer for a feature film by SIBA Media, a Los Angeles-based entertainment production company founded by SMC Professor Simone Bartesaghi.

Ozuna was unable to attend the Prague festival awards ceremony due to his Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) status, which can be revoked if he leaves the U.s., college officals said.

Carrasco called Ozuna's inabiility to attend "one of the film’s great ironies."


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