Mira Costa High School sophomore Ethan Nahlinder took home the “Best Visual FX” award Sunday at the All American High School Film Festival, which took place in New York City last weekend.
Nahlinder was unable to attend the festival because of school, but he found out he took home a prize looking at the winners online.
“As I was scrolling through the winners, I was shocked to see my name in bold as a winner,” Nahlinder said. “After being nervous and anxious for several days, I now have sweet relief.”
Nahlinder's short film, “Void,” which was screened at an AMC theater in Times Square on Saturday, tells the story of an astronaut who discovers a parallel universe and soon faces potential consequences of traveling through the mysterious hole in space.
Nahlinder wanted to tackle a film project over the summer when he came across a YouTube video of a couple of guys injecting ink into a fish tank full of water and manipulating the ink.
“I thought it somewhat resembled a face,” Nahlinder said. “I thought of how I could manipulate that and create certain effects like opening voids to other dimensions.”
Nahlinder not only directed, wrote and edited “Void,” he also cast himself as the lead. The short was filmed on various locations in Hermosa Beach, including his neighborhood near Valley Park.
Nahlinder is currently taking film courses at Mira Costa under the tutelage of Michael Hernandez, who he thanked at the end of the short, and he hopes to have a future in filmmaking.
Nahlinder said he was honored just to make it in the film festival.
“I was surprised, especially looking at the works of other filmmaker’s works from previous years for that festival,” Nahlinder said. “It felt welcoming to know that my film could be considered... with that kind of caliber.”
“Void” can be viewed here.