Modesto students’ animated film wins top spot at international film festival in New York

In competition with 80 other animated films, five Downey High School students took first place last week in the All-American High School Film Festival held in New York City, Modesto City Schools reported.

The New York Film Academy awarded Downey student and director Aleksandar Mindov a $45,000 scholarship for his film “Overcast,” which won in the animated category. The film was worked on by career and technical education Instructor Heath Grant along with students Rafael Torres Gomez, Alexander Scarbrough, Ismael Gonzalez and Colin Guevara.

Students competed against others from California, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, Ireland and Canada in the category.

The All-American High School Film Festival is dedicated to high school filmmakers and media arts creators from around the world. Each year, in New York City, it allows students to learn from professionals, connect with the latest technology, explore higher education opportunities and receive scholarships and technology prizes.

The categories range from best overall to editing, screenplay, drama, vlogs and more. To learn more, go to