Alvarez produced a documentary, written and directed by fellow OCC film student Matthew Rodgers, 22, titled "Uncaged."
For both students, who will graduate in May, the film wasn't their first, but it was their first time dealing with the unpredictability of real life and scenarios in filming a documentary.
"You're not dealing with classmates anymore or teachers," Rodgers said. "You're dealing with real people and trying to make these stories happen, despite all the obstacles."
The duo chose to make their short film following an Orange County mixed-martial arts fighter, Yoko Hamamura, as he struggled to meet the requirements of a lower weight-class in time for his first fight in Salt Lake City.
However, neither filmmaker was a fan of the sport.
"We didn't really like MMA and didn't like UFC," Alvarez said. "But, we didn't understand it very much. Our whole goal was to see why it's such a popular sport and why people like it so much."
The film, along with the other the six chosen by a panel of festival judges, screens at 1 p.m. May 1, at the Regency Lido Theatre in Newport Beach.
While "Uncaged" won third place in the Best Documentary category earlier this year at the Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival, the Newport festival will be other students' first experience in the big leagues.
"You can't afford to make movies that aren't going to film festivals," said OCC alumnus Nicholas Ybarra, 21, who filmed "Out Of Bounds" last year before graduating with a film certificate.
Film students are under immense pressure because of high levels of competition and employer scrutiny as well as the high production costs of making a film.
With the economy making the situation more difficult, film students need to make every project count, he said.
Ybarra's film deals with a controversial subject: two women in love.