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Valencia grad wins ‘Student Emmy'

Local takes award for music video production with his electronica band, Mechanical Hands Electronic

Posted: March 27, 2009 11:42 p.m.
Updated: March 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Chris Buongiorno, middle, with Zach Hunsaker, left, and Andrew Verner of Mechanical Hands Electric Heart. The Valencia High School graduate was honored for directing the band's music video.

A Valencia High School graduate took home a top honor from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation for directing the music video of a local electronica band.

Chris Buongiorno, 23, won a "Student Emmy" for a music video he directed for locally based band Mechanical Hands Electric Heart.

Buongiorno thought winning was a long shot, considering the category was named best use of music.

"I didn't really think I was going to make it. Then they called me," he said Thursday.

He received the award during the foundation's 30th College Television Awards on March 21.

Buongiorno graduated from Valencia High School in 2004 and set out to study motion graphics at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

"Then I realized I hated sitting behind a computer all day," he said.

After two years at Otis, Buongiorno switched to filmmaking, a hobby he started during his teen years.

He plans to graduate next month from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena with a bachelor of fine arts in film.

Along with the music video, Buongiorno makes comedy shorts, commercials and "mockumentaries."

"Probably my most favorite process is working with actors and working with people," he said. "I love personalities."

He tested his visual arts skills in junior high and high school as he and his friends began skateboarding.

"I wasn't very good at (skateboarding), but I was good with a camera," he said. He soon began documenting the skateboarding.

He built his interest leading the video production program at Valencia High School, played in a high school rock band, and met two members who would soon be in Mechanical Hand Electric Heart.

Once he earns his degree next month, Buongiorno plans to begin scouring for jobs related to filmmaking.

"For me, it's all about persevering," he said. "If I don't get the exact job offer I'd like, (I'll) just continue doing what I'm doing right now."

To see the award-winning music video, visit


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