Dakota Bailey, Idyllwild Arts Academy graduate, won Best Actress, Short Film, at the IIFC Awards Ceremony Sunday night. She is seen here in a scene from the film “Standpoint,” an IAA student film that won for Best Short Film. The film was set in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Photo courtesy Dakota Bailey

Idyllwild Arts Academy 2010 dance graduate Dakota Bailey won Best Actress, Short Film, at the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema awards ceremony at the Rustic Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 15. Bailey won for her performance in “Standpoint,” in which she acts and dances the role of Aliza, a Jewish dancer in Nazi-occupied Poland. “Standpoint” won best short film and garnered another three awards — Best Director, Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography.

It was a local coup inasmuch as the film was produced by Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Department of Film and Digital Media, and was written, produced and directed by IAA 2016 graduate Erik Hirschhorn who won for Best Director, Short Film. “Standpoint” also starred local musician and performer Analia Lenchantin who won Best Supporting Actress, Short Film. “Standpoint” cinematographer Mauricio Garcia Parker, IA 2016 grad won for Best Cinematography.

The film featured IAA dance instructor and actor Jonathan Sharp, and music by 2016 IAA grad Miguel Soto. It was produced by current IAA film student Shirley Sui whose film “Please” also was featured in IIFC 2017 and is making the festival rounds as well. “Standpoint” won best film in the most competitive category, said IIFC Executive Producer Trinity Houston. “There were over 50 films entered in the Short Film category and the competition was very strong,” Houston noted. “And this was judged by our panel not based in Idyllwild, so there was no Idyllwild bias. The film was amazing and hard to believe it came from a 17-year-old filmmaker.”

Analia Lenchantin (right), winner of the IIFC Best Supporting Actress, Short Film, seen here with longtime friend Gaston Biraben, noted film sound director and writer at the IIFC Awards Ceremony.
Photo courtesy Analia Lenchantin

IIFC Founder and Director Stephen Savage had made a point of connecting with IAA in order to showcase at this year’s festival more of the quality filmmaking being made by IAA student filmmakers. So in many ways, a win by an IAA film validated Savage’s outreach and vision.

Bailey majored in dance at both IAA and the University of California, Santa Barbara, from which she received a bachelor’s degree in dance in 2014. But it was her start at IAA that convinced her to pursue an artistic career. “Idyllwild Arts opened up my eyes to the world of artists and set me on a path to creativity and collaboration.”

During her time at both institutions, she began appearing in student films and discovered a passion for acting. She took acting classes every year at UCSB. “I’m now incorporating more acting and film making in my life,” said Bailey. “I’ll keep dancing [she started at age 4] but now acting is what I want to pursue. I’ve found this great passion in it.” At age 15, she landed her first role in a film written and directed by Sabrina Jaglom, daughter of writer/director Henry Jaglom.

She is now doing what most aspiring actors do in Hollywood — taking classes, making the rounds of auditions, and meeting with casting agents and producers. “I recently met with a producer and will be doing a short film, a drama, that will begin shooting in February/March,” said Bailey. “I’m very fortunate to be working this much.”

Lenchantin has a deep connection with IAA having moved here from Woodland Hills when her 15-year-old daughter started at the academy. She has appeared in other IAA student films, and has acted and performed as a musician in Idyllwild for many years.

She said she was enjoying attending the Sunday awards ceremony, cheering on the winners, when the category for Best Supporting Actress, Short Film, was announced. “I never expected to win, so I prepared nothing to read,” she said. “I heard my first name called and heard nothing after that. I’m not sure what I said. I spoke from my heart.”

Lenchantin, a native of Argentina, said she is thrilled to be living in Idyllwild and believes that this community, with so many artists, creates a special energy that is conducive to creativity and collaboration. “It is so good for all of us to be here in this town, working together, doing our best and putting our best efforts forward,” she said.