The winner of the 2021 SEVA Documentary Award was senior Jenna Sheppard. The category was to make an informal documentary about anything that is connected with education or teens.
Sheppard took the chance to express herself in the documentary by highlighting mental health. explains the importance of the creative process in making her film.
“I noticed that social media has become so toxic and detrimental to my mental health in the past few years.” Said Sheppard.
Social media over the years has become more of a pressing topic in conversations. The mixed idea and perception that everything online can be skewed has affected many teenagers’ thoughts on themselves and has ultimately raised the bar of unrealistic expectations.
Her own experience and noticing others with negative interactions with social media sparked the senior’s film senses to create something that was not only impactful to herself but for others as well who felt similarly. Sheppard decided to find a solution to the damaging impact that social media has on teens.
The film required intensive time and preparation to achieve Sheppard’s final outcome. The script for the documentary took about a week to complete. While producing the film, gathering footage, and editing took around 15 hours.
After entering into SEVA last year and having received an honorable mention she was beyond excited to hear that she had won in the documentary category. “Winning this award means a lot to me; this is my first solo project that’s won an award.” Said Sheppard.
The senior also has dived into her creative side when making other films. She is multi-talented and has created films in several different genres.
“One of the more recent short films I’ve created is “Flesh” by myself and Amelia York, which was a horror film produced for Rio’s annual horror contest.” Said Sheppard.
The horror film received much praise from the student body and teachers such as Adam Bearson who leads the Video and Production class at the school.
Growing up she was constantly surrounded by film and television because her parents worked in that industry. It influenced Sheppard to take it to the next level as she grew up.
Sheppard’s passion for making films began in middle school when she taught herself how to edit for projects at school and later videos for Youtube with her friends.
She progressed her journey with film when she joined the school’s video production. This was when the idea of winning contests and awards soon became a reality for her.
“Winning the entire category this year was a great way to end my high school video production career.” Said Sheppard. This SEVA award shows years of dedication to her passion and demonstrates Shepherd’s love for making films.
Sheppard doesn’t plan on stopping her journey of creating films and conducting projects she plans on attending UC Santa Cruz in the fall and majoring in Film and Digital Media Production. She also hopes to have a job in the video field after college.