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Locals Win at Hero Film Fest

Student winner Emily Baker with My Hero’s Wendy Milette.

Acclaimed father and son Laguna Beach filmmakers Greg and Shaun MacGillivray won the best of fest award at this year’s My Hero International Film Festival in Los Angeles for “One World One Ocean,” a film intended to inspire the preservation and protection of the sea as a global life source.

Emily Baker, a Laguna elementary student, produced “Together We Can Create World Peace,” which won first prize in the student category. Her film shows the creation and destruction of a sand mandala built by Tibetan monks who visited her church.

“Together…,” along with “One World One Ocean,”  were among the winning entries from nearly 80 finalists by filmmakers from across the globe submitting to the seventh annual festival. Its producer, My Hero Project, is itself a Laguna byproduct.

Seven years ago, Laguna Beach educator Jeanne Meyers started My Hero as an on-line movement designed to introduce positive role models to children and their elders. “At the time I saw a shortage of positive role models throughout the media and entertainment industry,” she said.

Meyer’s brainstorm also resulted in the yearly Laguna Hero Festival held in her hometown. Organized to spotlight people making a difference in the community, this year’s is slated for May, she said.

MacGillivray Freeman Films are wrapping up their latest big-screen IMAX film, “To the Arctic,” a documentary chronicling the disappearing habitat of polar bears. The film is part of the company’s multi-media, One World One Ocean campaign to motivate worldwide participation in ocean protection over the next decade, said Shaun MacGillivray, the company’s managing director and producer.

The effort is to encompass 1,000 videos, three 3-D films, a television series, traveling exhibits and multiple partners. “There are 400 IMAX theaters world-wide and 70 million people see IMAX films; there are no others like us,” Shaun MacGillivray said.

Shaun, 31, whose namesake is surfer Shaun Thomson, earned a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Atlanta’s Emory University. But, inspired by his father’s career and his parents’ environmental awareness, he earned a master’s degree from USC’s film school. After graduating, he produced “Grand Canyon Adventure,” for MacGillivray Freeman, examining the growing world-wide water crisis. “We are the story tellers, the catalyst for people to become involved in saving the environment,” he said.

Laguna, with its proximity to film studios and the sea, proved the perfect Petri dish to nurture such a multi-pronged enterprise.

My Hero’s concept celebrating local standouts in online videos and film finds eager filmmakers apart from Laguna also. “Sasa,” a documentary by filmmaker Diane Namm, won the film fest’s humanitarian division. The six-minute long film shows a young doctor, Sasa, who

witnessed such poverty and suffering growing up in a poor Burmese village that he vowed to become a doctor so he could help his people.

Former Laguna Beach teacher Wendy Milette, who was hired by Meyers, established the My Hero Film Festival at USC where she had earned a master’s degree in filmmaking. “We started out with a handful of films and are now getting entries from all over the world, Jordan, Africa, Australia,” she said.

 

 

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