Ramapo will host the first of what the College hopes to be an annual film festival for New Jersey high school students on Dec. 5 and 6 in the H-wing auditorium. The festival is accepting submissions from all teenage filmmakers in either their first or second year of high school. The goal of the festival is to give young students a platform from which to show their creative works, while highlighting Ramapo College’s filmmaking program.
“Students come to me in their first year at Ramapo and show me some of the work that they did in high school and we found a lot of their work really impressive,” said Neel Scott, associate professor of digital filmmaking and faculty coordinator for the festival. “A lot of times students in high school don’t have a venue or a way of really being able to show their work out to the public, so we wanted to make a festival specifically dedicated to the work of high school students.”
Erin Dubee, a senior at Ramapo and the student festival director, hopes the festival encourages students to think about filmmaking as a potential career.
“I don’t think it’s one of the majors you really think about when you’re going to college,” said Dubee.
Although the deadline for film submissions is not until Nov. 10, Scott and Dubee are impressed with the response for the festival so far.
“I’m so surprised by the amount of creativity that these kids have put into it. Most of the films only have crews of about three or four people and the stories that they are able to tell are not only visually compelling, but they have a lot of heart behind them,” said Dubee.
According to Scott, some high school teachers have included the festival as class assignments.
“We’ve been able to connect with a lot of the high school film and video teachers who are excited to have a venue for their students to be able to display their work and have students able to submit their work,” said Scott.
The films will be chosen and critiqued by a jury of industry professionals, Ramapo faculty and digital filmmaking students. Awards will be given out to winners in categories like best overall feature, best fiction film, best documentary and achievement in editing. The prizes for these categories include gift cards, scholarships and filming equipment.
“Even to students whose films were not chosen, we are planning on giving them feedback about their films to encourage them to keep making films and learn how they can improve what are already some pretty great films,” said Scott.
The festival will also serve as a way to advertise Ramapo’s filmmaking program to prospective students.
“We want to let students from New Jersey know that we do have a filmmaking program here and it’s a really great program," said Dubee. "It’s not just NYU and Columbia in the city, we have a really good one right here."