Arts & Culture Schools / Kids

Meet the Finalists for the Young Filmmakers Contest of SOMA Film Fest

Cinema Ed, the non-profit that works at the intersection of storytelling, filmmaking and secondary school education, has announced the Finalist films in the Young Filmmakers Track of the 2017 SOMA Film Festival.

The fillmmakers hail from Maplewood, South Orange, Millburn, Westfield and Chatham.

Dozens of live action and animated films were submitted by high school students from as far away as California and England, but the 15 finalist films were created by New Jersey students from three different school districts. All of the winners in the finalist category, for example, went to New Jersey Film School in New Providence. Coincidentally, all of the animation finalists are from Columbia High School and were instructed by Paul Marigliano.

Narrative Short finalists Ben Krueger is a CHS Senior who has previously reported for Village Green, filming a video interview of Judy Church of Church’s Kitchen.

Professional filmmakers will judge the finalists in three categories: narrative, documentary and animated. Cinema Ed will recognize award-winning films and their directors at a special awards ceremony at the Young Filmmakers screening event to be held at the Maplewood Theater (155 Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood, NJ) on Saturday, March 11 from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

The Finalists are:

2017 Young Filmmakers Finalists – Narrative Short

Brains, Trains and Automobiles – Ben Krueger – What’s going on up there?   A not-so-scientific look at the way the mind works.

Spare Some Change – Logan Calder – A homeless boy and his search for help.

Unforgotten – Jessica Zheng – A girl haunted by the death of her best friend must learn to forgive and forget.

Rotary – Ben Krueger – Who needs cell phones when you got the good old rotary? Cellphone addiction shown in a new light.

2:32 – Brendan Weissman –  Two high school seniors must find a missing late library book by the end of the day in order to graduate.

Soldier – Logan Calder – A young boy yearns for a father overseas fighting in Afghanistan. Will he ever see him again?

2017 Young Filmmakers Finalists – Documentary Short 

Cobs:  One Kernel at a Time – Jasper Schuetz – A in-depth study of the young winner of a Connecticut sweet corn eating contest.

CHS Football Documentary – Ralph Ravix – A look at how a high school and their team keep up morale during tough football times.

Heba’s Story – Ariel Riseman – A timely story about Heba and her family, who are Syrian refugees living in Elizabeth, NJ.

The Cool Kids: A CHS Mockumentary – Max Goldstein and Aidan Romanaux – A day-by-day look at how to make a documentary film for your high school film class … well, sort of.

2017 Young Filmmakers Finalists – Animated Short

A Hard Day – Edmond Toussaint – Have you ever had a hard day? Joe is a kid who had a really bad day.

The Search for Happiness – Jacob Hirsch – The journey of a ball in search of a companion that takes an unexpected turn.

Grom – Lucas Kensinger and Owen Gall – A security guard at the Louvre falls asleep and three famous paintings are in jeopardy.

Howl – Talia Rhinehart – A new take on Little Red Riding Hood.

Boo – Micheal Afriye, Matilda McDougall, Derrick Mornvil  – A little tale of frustrated ghosts.

To view the list of finalist films or to purchase tickets to the March 11 Young Filmmakers screening, visit:

Launched in 2014, Cinema Ed is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to using independent film as a teaching tool for all students, especially those at-risk. To expand the reach of its innovative programs aimed at helping secondary school students connect with their curriculum, Cinema Ed collaborates with leaders across school districts, higher education institutions and the film industry. Its goals are to help students harness the storytelling power of today’s technologies and engage in filmmaking techniques and methods, and to share the creative results with the world.

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