West Essex High School to Host Film Festival for High School Filmmakers

NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - West Essex High School is seeking young high school filmmakers to participate in the high school’s first High School Film Festival April 25 at 7 p.m. in the school's auditorium.

The film festival is dedicated to showcasing films made by area high school students. Students may enter films 10 minutes or less in length in the following categories: best overall film, best drama, best comedy, best documentary and best music video. There will also be a special West Essex Film Award. This award will be for a West Essex student only.

The festival will feature an evening of films, celebrity speakers, Q&A’s, music and networking. West Essex alum and “Sopranos” creator David Chase is expected to attend, speak about his work and answer audience questions.

The films wills be reviewed by a panel of judges including Emmy-Award Winning Industry professionals and West Essex Faculty. The films will be evaluated on merits of: originality/creativity of story; production value (i.e. quality of lighting, sound, camerawork, editing) and quality of acting. Judges may decline to give an award in a particular category if no entry meets the festival standards or quality. The judges include Randy Rossilli Jr., an Emmy winner and four-time nominee.

Student Council President Greg Contaldi came up with the idea for the festival after attending a summer filmmaking program at The Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and approached High School Principal Gary Suda about starting a festival at West Essex High School. Suda agreed and a date was set.

Students who would like to enter films in the festival must follow the submissions guidelines. They must do the following: create their film, edit and export it to size HD 720p, upload film to and then send the link for the film to Each film submission must also include the following information: first and last name of student, email address, address, city, state, zip code, country, phone number, high school, birthday, gender and year of high school graduation. In addition, students must include the following information about the film: a short synopsis, category, running time of film (minutes and seconds) and year of completion.

All films must also comply with submission guidelines. They must be submitted by the Feb. 25, 2014 deadline. All content must be created by a student currently enrolled in high school or completed while the student was enrolled in high school. No industry professionals or faculty can play a major role (i.e. producer, director, writer, cinematographer, editor) although they may have an advisory role. The overall film must be considered a student production. All films must be in English or subtitled/dubbed in English. Entries with incomplete submission information may be disqualified. The maximum length of a film is 10 minutes. All copyrighted material must be properly licensed. All materials (images, music etc.) must be original work, work used with the copyright holder’s permission, or work that is in the public domain. Films that violate the copyright law cannot be shown publicly in the festival. The judges encourage filmmakers to explore the human experience in all of its dimensions. However, our judging panel may exclude films that do not uphold the values generally shared by our West Essex community audience. For example, films with unjustified obscenity, gratuitous violence, or whose subjects are in poor taste or risqué may be excluded. Content matters.

Tickets for the festival are $5 and are available at Tickets will also be sold at the door. West Essex High School is located at 65 W. Greenbrook Road, North Caldwell. For more information or questions, please contact

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