East Bay students filmmakers recently won big at C-SPAN’s national 2021 StudentCam competition.

Now in its 17th year, the nationwide cable network’s contest invites middle and high school students to make a short documentary. This year’s theme was “Explore the issue you most want the president and new Congress to address in 2021.”

Agamroop Kaur of San Ramon’s Dougherty Valley High School makes a point about the availability of vaping products in her prize-winning documentary “BIG Tobacco BIGGER Epidemic.” (Image courtesy of C-SPAN StudentCam)

Agamroop Kaur, from San Ramon’s Dougherty Valley High School, won $1,500 for the documentary “BIG Tobacco BIGGER Epidemic,” on youth vaping, which will air throughout the day on April 6 on C-SPAN.

Another Tri-Valley student, Philip Avdey from Pleasanton’s Amador Valley High School, won $750 for a third-place documentary about space exploration, “Frontier.

A trio of students from Alameda Community Learning Center in Alameda collaborated on honorable mention winner “Crumbling Foundation: Ending the California Housing Crisis.” Aidan Gleason, Julia Dashzeveg and Oliver Cantal brought home $250 for their work.

More than 2,300 students across the country submitted more than 1,200 films. The most popular topics were health care, environmental and energy policy, equal rights and equity, criminal justice and policing, and education.

“With the continual shift in the educational landscape, it is difficult to overstate just how challenging the pandemic has proven for schools across our nation,” said Craig McAndrew, Director, C-SPAN Education Relations, in a statement. “We are so impressed by the resilience and ingenuity of this year’s prize-winning students who have delivered among the finest short films in the history of the StudentCam competition.”

The prize-winning videos can be seen on the StudentCam website.