CCA Envision cinema students win big at New York festival

Canyon Crest Academy Envision Cinema Conservatory students won awards in multiple categories at the All American High School Film Festival in New York City, the largest high school film festival in the world.

“The All American High School Film Festival was a great experience for our students,” said CCA Envision Cinema Coordinator Mark Raines, who noted that it speaks to the caliber of students in the Envision Cinema program. “To have nine films in the world’s largest high school film festival is quite an accomplishment for one school program.”

Filmmakers Julia Elihu, Erin Bentel, Daria Miller and Danny Sandler won the Overall Audience Choice Awards under the Teen Indie Awards with their film, “Celine & Simon.” The film was also named a finalist for Best Drama, Best Direction and Best Screenplay. The film “Lily’s Journey” was named a Best Documentary finalist. It was produced by Julia Elihu, Andrew Boyles, Gabrielle de Boucaud, Thomas Wade, and Akeel Najimudeen.

Julia Elihu was named a female rising star finalist for the featured films she co-directed, “Lily’s Journey” and “Celine & Simon.” The festival also recognized her as a finalist in the Rising Star category, an award for up-and-coming female filmmakers.

“Winning the Audience Choice Award was really exciting, for myself personally and for the Envision Cinema Conservatory program at CCA as a whole, because the honor came from the largest high school film festival,” said Julia. “It really demonstrated to me how my film was not only able to affect people in my local community but also people from all across the country and from other parts of the world. It was also powerful to see how people were able to relate to the film in different ways.”

Raines said more than 1,400 student films were submitted to the festival from 48 states and 31 countries. CCA had nine films selected to be featured in the more than 300 films screened at the festival. The student filmmakers traveled with teacher Mark Raines to the awards ceremony in New York. Visit; see the winning films at