Alter graduate put the whoosh in hair-raising Oscar winner that went viral

The whooshes, thumps and cheers that helped bring one of this year’s most-acclaimed films to life didn’t get there on their own.

A Kettering-raised, 2015 Alter High School graduate was part of the team that put those effects in “Hair Love,” the winner of the 2020  Academy Award in the Best Short Film category.

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Christopher Pentecost's name does not appear on the award, but the Los Angeles-based special effects sound editor says that does not diminish his excitement.


“It’s a collaborative effort in the industry, so I definitely feel a part of that,” the 24-year-old employee at Esho Sound Company said. “You don’t necessarily need the trophy to be a part of the Oscar short (win).”

The movie about an African-American man learning to style his daughter's hair marked the first Oscar win for Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver.

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Pentecost is one of two known connections between Dayton and this year’s Academy Awards held, Sunday, Feb. 9.

Yellow Springs residents Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar — longtime pillars of Dayton's art and film community — received the Oscar in the documentary feature category for their critically-acclaimed film "American Factory."

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The film follows the creation of the Chinese-owned automotive glass-factory Fuyao Glass America in the same building that had once housed a General Motors assembly operation in Moraine.

It features several local residents.

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There is very little dialogue in the Sony Pictures Animation film that has received more than 18 million views on

“We got to have a lot of fun with it. Because it is animation, it is hyper-realistic,” Pentecost said. “We kind of used sound in a high-end way to bring out the story a little more.”

Pentecost is the youngest son of Michael Pentecost, a Montgomery County Public Defender,  and Michelle Pentecost, an accountant at Miamisburg-based Connor Group.

“It’s been fantastic,” Michelle Pentecost said of her son’s success.

Christopher Pentecost’s other work last year included sound editing on “Gotti” starring John Travolta and serving as a foley editor for “Ernesto’s Manifesto” directed by Fairview High School graduate Dave M. Matthews, an Emmy Award-winning composer, writer and director.

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Pentecost was nominated for a Motion Picture Sound Editors’ Golden Reel Award for his work on “Apollo: Missions to the Moon.”

He became interested in sound as a child.

He worked sound for theater presentation and was a member of the Alter marching band, for which he recorded promotional videos.

“Sound is always something that is interesting to me,” the graduate of Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication said. “It is a unique way to tell the story through sound.”

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Pentecost said his love for movie-making and sound recording deepened in college while he worked on projects with classmates and professors and landed internships in Los Angeles.

“It has a really good mix of technical and creative work,” he said of film editing.

Pentecost said there is a huge OU alumni base in LA.

Working in the movie industry is not always easy, but Pentecost says he has found many rewards.

“Anybody getting into the industry just has to put in the time and effort,” he said.

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