Duluth East Grad Lands Spot on Stage at Oscars

By KBJR News 1

February 24, 2013 Updated Feb 25, 2013 at 2:38 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - If you were one of the many that watched the Academy Awards Sunday, you're familiar with the celebrity hype and glamour. But for a Duluth family, the show was less about the stars and more about their son.

"We're just so thrilled. I mean, it's unexpected," said Gina Diaz of her son, Abe, "We're just so proud."

Abe, a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago, submitted a video to
a competition called the Oscar Experience College Search, put on by mtvU and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The competition asked students to send in a video explaining how they would contribute to the future of movies. Six entrants were then selected to hand out Oscar statuettes to presenters during the ceremony.

"It's a mere thirty second video that sort of changed his life," said Abe's dad, Josefino Diaz.

The video Abe entered into the competition incorporates the film styles of several of his favorite directors, including Quentin Tarantino.

"He's just like , 'Hey, there's this Oscar thing'," said Diaz's friend, Erik Hippchen, of how Abe asked them to take part in the video.

Hippchen and several other of Abe's friends were featured as actors in the video.

"He's always been creative," said Joseph Barnes, another friend-turned-actor.

Diaz beat out thousands of aspiring filmmakers to win the spot on stage.

"[He was] against 100,000 submissions," said Josefino.

"He's just really passionate about film and it's just awesome to see him get somewhere with it," said Hippchen.

Gina says Abe isn't even in film school. It's his minor in college and something that he's always been interested in.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.