Ashlynn Wong, Sonia Shin and Alisa Ching, 8th graders at Burlingame Intermediate School, took home first place in the Middle School Division and the Best in Fest award for their film, “What’s at Steak: The Hidden Cost of Meat,” at the 7th Annual CEC Student Film Fest, which was held at the Burlingame High School Theater on April 24. A total of 33 students from nine different schools submitted 21 entries. The film festival was a co-production of the Citizens Environmental Council (CEC), the Burlingame High School Environmental Club and the Social Impact Filmmaking Club at The Nueva School.

Ashlynn, Sonia and Alisa received the award from Kristin Tieche, a professional filmmaker and film educator who was invited to judge the competition. She praised “What’s at Steak” for its original storytelling and the creativity that was displayed in the cow and stop motion animations, B-roll footage and the clever way of presenting the opening and ending credits.

Ethan Lee, a junior at Crystal Springs Upland School, won the Best High School Division for “Threads of Change.” He resides in Palo Alto.

Jocelyn Hon, Anjini Jandial, Nadya Ortiz, Bella Zhang and Sienna Wade, 5th graders at Hoover Elementary School, won the Best Elementary Division for their film, “Pollution Hurts Animals (well duh).


The evening also featured a performance by Alex Bertelli, a freshman at Burlingame High School, who played “Clocks of Decay”, a song he composed for his high school film entry, “Decay.

Students in grades 4 through 12 who live or attend school in San Mateo County were invited to enter environmental videos of up to five minutes in length in the contest. With financial support from Peninsula Clean Energy, CEC awarded cash prizes of $150 to the elementary school winner, $150 to the middle school winner, $150 to the high school winner, and $150 for the “Best in Fest” winner.  The Best in Fest winner also won a live screening of their film at the Green Film Festival of San Francisco this October.

San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine, who was a guest speaker at the event, said that he learned a lot from the films he watched and was impressed with the student’s hard work and environmental advocacy.

Two Citizens Environmental Council board members, Eileen Kim and Shirley Lee, were recently named winners of the Jefferson Award, which has honored public service in the U.S. for more than 50 years, for creating and managing the Film Fest since 2018. Both live in Burlingame.