Arts & Entertainment

Big Dreams Youth Film Festival in Westfield Showcases Works by Kids in 3rd-12th Grade

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The cast and crew of "School Friends" Credits: Big Dreams Youth Film Festival
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Westfield third-grader Madeline Manger won "Best Narrative - Grammer School" for her film at the Big Dreams Youth Film Festival at the James Ward Mansion. Credits: Big Dreams Youth Film Festival
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Credits: Big Dreams Youth Film Festival
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Seating at the James Ward Mansion sold out. Credits: Big Dreams Youth Film Festival
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The Grand Salon of the James Ward Mansion owas converted into a movie theater for the day.  Credits: Big Dreams Youth Film Festival
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WESTFIELD, NJ — Big Dreams & Silver Screens held its third annual Big Dreams Youth Film Festival last weekend at The James Ward Mansion, screening a total of 34 films created by kids in grades 3 through 12.

The Grand Salon of the James Ward Mansion on East Broad Street downtown was converted into a movie theater for the day. Student directors were interviewed on the red carpet by Red Carpet Host, local model and actress Zayna Allen.

Westfield third-grader Madeline Manger won "Best Narrative - Grammer School" for her film,"School Friends." Westfield sixth graders Zach Marcus and Jordan Mirrion got the "Rising Star" award for directing "You Are Not Alone."

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Other Westfield students whose work was featured were: "Thank You for Carrying Me," directed by Sophie Wayner (grade 10); "Working Title," directed by Jake Tannenbaum (grade 10); and "Technicolor," directed by Sarah Laide and Mikayla Pinto (grade 11).

Other award winners were:
Best Documentary — "In Plain Sight: A Hidden Child of the Holocaust," Carli Platt, grade 7, Millburn
Best Narrative - Middle School — "Ball Hog," Michelle Tang, grade 8, Metuchen
Best Animation — "Scraps," Shannon Miller, grade 11, Manalapan
Best Documentary — "Dali Schonfelder: The Nalu Story," Madison Rambowski, grade 11, Hardyston
Best Narrative - High School —  "GONE," Alice Almiron, grade 12, Passaic
Best Film of the Festival — "GONE,"  Alice Almiron, grade 12, Passaic

"Every year I am more and more impressed by the talent of these students," said Festival Director Gina Marie Rodriguez. "Each of them has the ability, should they choose, to pursue a career in the arts. I look forward to seeing them accept their Academy Awards one day."

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