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Open to ages 12-18, Luminescence has traditionally been an international teen film festival highlighting local teens in Palo Alto, but for the 2nd year in a row, we will be opening up the local submissions and turning our festival into a celebration of teen filmmakers around the greater San Francisco Bay Area!

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Congrats to our 2023 Winners!

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YEE-HAW

Eli Tsives (18), Santa Clara County Saratoga High School

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Typo

Clara Chiu (17), San Mateo County Woodside High School

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You Matter

Sophia Pestoni (16), San Mateo County Woodside High School

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2023 Luminescence Nominees

i stood up too fast

Saif Khalid (18), San Francisco County San Francisco State University

An experimental short film based on the sensation of standing up too fast.

Warning: Flashing lights

My House is Mine

Kaiya Jordan (17), Alameda County Berkeley High School

A young girl reflects on her past while looking into a dollhouse. Pairing childhood nostalgia with the fear of growing up and time passing too quickly, My House is Mine is an encapsulation of family dynamics and their impact on the young mind.

Watch Me

Daniel Pan (17), Santa Clara County Henry M. Gunn High School

An amateur filmmaker faces the harsh reality of the culture in the Bay Area: studying film is risky and useless. He traverses through obstacles including comments from his friends and family until he makes his final decision. Filmmaking or not filmmaking?

Return of the Milpitas Monster

Jonny Baker (17), Santa Clara County Piedmont Hills High School

A big 50 foot monster attacks the small town of Milpitas but who better to stop the monster then a group of kids and a mayor with some screws loose.

Warning: Substance use, blood, on screen death

Tangled Hearts

Kaiya Jordan (17), Alameda County Berkeley High School

Set in a world where husbands and wives are connected at birth by a red string, two girls navigate their growing feelings for each other.

Moolnight Fantasy

Aidan Venneman (18), Santa Clara County Henry M. Gunn High School

At a recital, a pianist looks back on his relationships and the sacrifices he’s made for his art.

Mother's Soup

James Kim (18), Santa Clara County Henry M. Gunn High School

This was a personal 2D animation I made with my brother in order to produce a heartfelt story. I was incharge of all the visual development and animation asset building. When it came to the story, we were inspired by Pixar shorts like Bao and Ratatouille. Our film was about a grown man searching to recreate a recipe from his childhood that his mother could only make, desperately testing ingredients while reminiscing over the past. In the process I used the softness and sharpness of shapes and line edges in characters to convey personalities that an audience would understand and sympathize with. It was an early attempt at character design, which was especially important since there was little to no dialogue. I designed all of the 2D assets and compiled them in after effects and editing software. To this day I still feel very confident in the emotion it evokes, both sad and happy.

YEE-HAW

Eli Tsives (18), Santa Clara County Saratoga High School

A man living in a modern world where he suffers from a mental illness believing everyone around him, counting himself, are living in the wild west.

Warning: Blood, on screen death

Oleg Hoffman

Eli Tsives (18), Santa Clara County Saratoga High School

After a Jewish Soviet soldier experiences the loss of his best friend, he moves to America in hopes of a better life; only to be bombarded by more antisemitism.

Warning: Blood, on screen death, substance use

Typo

Clara Chiu (17), San Mateo County Woodside High School

A frustrated student writing a creative story for class discovers a spectacular power: anything they type comes to life. However, as they begin to take advantage of their newfound ability, the consequences of their greed quickly catches up.

For Charlie

Isabel Wright (17), San Mateo County Carlmont High School

Three friends find light in the recent death of their best friend, Charlie, by adventuring with a summer bucket list that Charlie made before he passed

Warning: Grief

God

Isaiah Johnson (17), Alameda County Oakland School for the Arts

2 characters, one the personification of religion, the other the personification of atheism argue about their beliefs.

Alone with Myself

Jonny Baker (17), Santa Clara County Piedmont Hills High School

A twilight’s zone style episode taking place in the 1950s about a young girl wakes up to find she is the only one left.

Warning: Violence, flashing lights, on screen death

Antibiotic Resistance

Kylee O'Brien (16), Santa Clara County Saratoga High School

Documentary that brings awareness to the problem of antibiotic resistance, what it is and how to solve it.

An Occurrence at Owl Airport

Henry Gillette (16), Alameda County the Athenian School

Based off the classic short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, this modern adaptation brings a new level of interest to the aging story.

Warning: Blood

You Matter

Sophia Pestoni (16), San Mateo County Woodside High School

The protagonist struggles with art inspiration ever since she has lost her friend in the past year due to suicide. She visits her grave often and thinks about her alot. She finally gets some inspiration which shows the audience that everyone belongs and matters, and that there are always people there to love, help, and support you.

Warning: Grief

A Stitch in Time

Eloise Dumas & Leonardo Vargha (16), Santa Clara County Palo Alto High School

It tells the story of a failing relationship through a series of flashbacks, each meant to show one of the seven deadly sins.

Rejuvenation

Max Yu (15), Santa Clara County The Kings Academy

A boy named Max discovered his true passion that he had been searching for for a long time.

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