We Are L.A. Unified

Chris Carmona, a recent graduate from Maywood Academy, wanted to make movies ever since he was little. He’s a big-time movie buff.

“I’ve always been playing with my family’s camera on vacation, parties, etc,” said Chris, who is 18. “My goal is to be one of the greats; to tell great stories—stories that people can relate to, and stories that make you feel excited.”

Chris is one step closer to making his dream a reality. He was one of six Hollywood hopefuls who won a spot on the film academy’s Team Oscar. He was chosen from a group of 1,100 hopefuls after submitting a 60-second video on the best piece of advice they’d ever received.

Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron established the Team Oscar program when producing their first Academy Awards show in 2013. The producers wanted someone on stage with a passion for film. They reached out to offer this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to aspiring filmmakers.

On February 22, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Chris handed Oscars statuettes to five celebrity presenters in the following categories: best hair and makeup, best costume design, best cinematography, best adapted screenplay and the biggest prize of the night – best picture presenter, two-time Academy award winner, Sean Penn.

He still shakes with excitement about the A-listers he met: Chris Pratt, newly minted Oscar winner, J.K. Simmons, Jason Bateman and “Scandal” star, Kerry Washington.

According to Chris, hanging out backstage was “mind-blowing.” He spent most of the time talking to the stage manager. As a token of his memorable experience, he was handed the script from the 86th Annual Academy Awards show itemizing Act 1, Act 2 and more.

The Team Oscar winners enjoyed the perks of their status, including a private tour of the studio’s Animation Research Library—typically open only to its artists and engineers—a visit to the Disney lot and a screening of its new film “Cinderella.”

These days he’s networking, networking and more networking, looking for jobs in the studios so he can learn the art of moviemaking. His sole focus is creating his first movie feature, continuing to work on scripts and sending his movie reels to film festivals.

One of Chris’s favorite directors is David Fincher, who made “Gone Girl” and the “Fighter’s Club.”

“He never leaves the shot until it’s the way he likes it,” Chris said. “I think everyone should aim for that.”

- Monica Carazo

To nominate a teacher, student, employee or volunteer, send an email to Thomas.Waldman@lausd.net, or call 213-241-6766. To see more profiles on the Distirct's website, go to http://bit.ly/1Fp25bG