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Woman behind Oscar-nominated film is from San Diego

Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-24 22:33:00-05

UPDATE: Melissa Berton won the Oscar for documentary short.

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Family members of a woman behind an Oscar-nominated film are preparing a big bash on Sunday night.

Inside a home in Del Derro, the party decor is going up. The catering menu has been decided.

"I feel like crying. So excited for her," said Tamara Berton.

"This is extra special," said Robert Berton.

From a proud father to an emotional sister, the Oscar anticipation is climbing for the short documentary: "Period. End of Sentence."

"It's been a profound experience from start to finish," said Melissa Berton.

The journey for Patrick Henry High graduate and English teacher Melissa Berton began in 2013. She advised a group of students at her North Hollywood school, selected as United Nation delegates to advocate for women and girls, where they learned about the taboo nature of menstruation in parts of India.

They formed a nonprofit called the Pad Project, in hopes of getting a machine to create biodegradable pads to a rural village in India. Through a Kickstarter campaign and bake sales, Berton and her students raised more than $50,000 for the machine - and a film.

"We never thought it would be an Oscar-nominated film, but the idea was always, if we could just make an educational film to raise awareness about this issue then that would be the jewel of the nonprofit," said Berton, who is the film's Executive Producer.

The film was put on the film festival circuit, receiving award after award. On Sunday night, expect the film's biggest cheering section to be in San Diego.

"It really wasn't really for herself. It was for others and that's what make me most proud of her ... It will be a thrilling night no matter what happens, especially so if she wins the Oscar," said Berton.

The film has received some Hollywood backing. Actor Jack Black, Berton's classmate at UCLA, was among its earliest donors. Other actors including Sarah Paulson and Kiefer Sutherland has supported the film on social media.