La Jolla High graduate captures pop culture in documentary

Lydia Stirling just couldn't do it. She could not enjoy faking enthusiasm for a beverage commercial. Her mom, who gave up acting at a young age, dreamed of seeing her daughter accepting the Best Actress award at the Oscars. But after leaving the casting in tears, Stirling decided that was the end of acting.

Six years later, the La Jolla High alumnus still hopes her mom will get a chance to go to the Academy Awards.

"I would one day want to be at the Academy Awards and be up for best documentary," Stirling said.

The 24-year-old Canadian-born director prefers being behind the camera. It comes more naturally; her dad is in broadcasting and she grew up in a...