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New Jersey Students to Grace the Red Carpet at the James Ward Mansion

originally published: 05/13/2018

New Jersey Students to Grace the Red Carpet at the James Ward Mansion

(WESTFIELD, NJ) -- Big Dreams & Silver Screens, the non-profit organization that annually brings you the Westfield International Film Festival (formerly Rahway International Film Festival), is proud to showcase the works of young New Jersey filmmakers at the 3rd annual Big Dreams Youth Film Festival on May 19, 2018 at the James Ward Mansion in Westfield, NJ.

Screening thirty-four short films by students across the state of New Jersey, the festival looks to celebrate the talent and promise of the next generation.  The young filmmakers range in age from Grades 3 through 12, excelling in films of all genres. All of the films are listed below alongside their directors, grade level, and town.

The filmmakers are competing for Best Animation, Best Narrative, Best Documentary, and Best Film of the Festival.  The category winners will receive a trophy and $10 gift card to Westfield’s own Morano Gelato.  The filmmaker who walks away with the Best Film of the Festival award will receive the aforementioned in addition to a guest appearance on the television show, “Classic Movies with Ron MacCloskey” and a special screening of their film at the Westfield International Film Festival.

Tickets are $10 and the event begins at 1pm on Saturday, May 19, 2018.  The James Ward Mansion is located at 169 E Broad St in Westfield, NJ 07091.  

Tickets are available for sale on EventBrite at  


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2018 FILM LINE-UP (Listed in order of Filmmaker's Grade)

"School Friends" Narrative |  Runtime: 06:14; Director: Madeline Manger; Grade: Grade 3 from Westfield; School: Franklin Elementary School; Synopsis: The film is about three best friends who get into a fight, get into trouble, and ultimately makeup.?

"You Are Not Alone"  - Narrative |  Runtime: 06:30; Director: Zach Marcus, Jordan Mirrione; Grade: Grade 6 from Westfield; School: Terrill Middle School; Synopsis: This movie is about a boy whose house is broken into while he is home alone.??

"In Plain Sight: A Hidden Child of the Holocaust"Documentary |  Runtime: 13:11; Director: Carli Platt; Grade: Grade 11 from Millburn; School: Millburn Middle School; Synopsis: Not every holocaust victim was sent to a concentration camp. Some didn't lose their lives, but instead lost everything that was important to them: their family, their religious identity, their childhood, and their way of life. This Documentary Short profiles Wilhelmina De Kadt, now Willie Juhlin, whose family lived in The Netherlands during World War II. Willie and her brother avoided being sent to a concentration camp, through the kindness of others and a bit of luck. She survived by hiding in plain sight with a Catholic family, and was eventually reunited with her only surviving adult family member, who brought her to America to start a new life.?

"Ball Hog"Narrative |  Runtime: 01:56; Director: Michelle Tang; Grade: Grade 8 from Metuchen; School: Edgar Middle School; Synopsis: A little girl unintentionally kicks her ball into a forest. As she goes to retrieve her ball, a homeless boy attempts to steal it.?

"Movie?"Narrative |  Runtime: 06:57; Director: Rachel Solomon; Grade: Grade 12 from Millburn; School: Millburn High School; Synopsis: Hannah and Lauren are two best friends in high school in the 80's. Everything is happy and brightly colored until Lauren realizes that they are living in a sitcom. Hannah and Lauren try to escape the sitcom and get to the real world.

"#ENOUGH"Documentary |  Runtime: 03:00; Director: Phoebe Yung; Grade: Grade 10 from Denville; School: Morris County School of Technology; Synopsis: A short documentary showing how the Parkland shooting affected two students at the Morris County School of Technology, and the actions that they took for the national school walkout.

"Cellular Life"Animation |  Runtime: 04:01; Director: Ethan R. Halperin; Grade: Grade 10 from Maplewood; School: Columbia High School; Synopsis: A cellphone yearns to experience nature.

"Company Call"Documentary |  Runtime: 11:50; Directors: Lauren Berard, Alexia Ross; Grade: Grade 10 from Fanwod & Cranford; School: UCVTS-Academy for Performing Arts; Synopsis: A short film following the lives of six young performing arts students.

"Darkness"Narrative |  Runtime: 05:54; Director: Austin Segal; Grade: Grade 10 from Basking Ridge; School: Ridge High School; Synopsis: After losing her hearing, Lucy struggles to figure out how music fits into her silent life.

"Run"Narrative |  Runtime: 00:45; Director: Yazemin Yilmaz; Grade: Grade 10 from Middletown; School: Middletown High School North; Synopsis: Do not try to run or escape student loans will always catch up to you!

"Thank You For Carrying Me"Narrative |  Runtime: 02:31; Director: Sophie Leigh Wayner; Grade: Grade 10 from Westfield; School: Westfield High School; Synopsis: This film follows a girl who explains her life changing relationship with her horse that has helped her through the good and bad times in life.

"The Sibling War"Narrative |  Runtime: 03:17; Director: Jackie Thornton; Grade: Grade 10 from Highlands; School: Henry Hudson Regional School; Synopsis: A brother and sister get into a struggle for power as they pull a series of pranks on each other.

"Working Title"Narrative |  Runtime: 08:59; Director: Jake Tannenbaum; Grade: Grade 10 from Westfield; School: Westfield High School; Synopsis: Follow young filmmakers Clark Foreman and Zach Cohen as they embark on a zany adventure to submit a film into the prestigious Silverart Studios™ teen film festival. Will they be able write, film, edit, and enter this film in a matter of 3 days? Enjoy the hijinx that ensue.

"You Deserve a Brighter Tomorrow"Narrative |  Runtime: 01:00; Director: Austin Segal, Mary Shea, Bella Trucco; Grade: Grade 10/11 from Basking Ridge; School: Ridge High School; Synopsis: This suicide prevention PSA is meant to remind those considering suicide that every single human on earth deserves a brighter tomorrow.

"Dali Schonfelder: The Nalu Story"Documentary |  Runtime: 07:08; Director: Madison Rambowski; Grade: Grade 11 from Hardyston; School: Sussex County Technical School; Synopsis: Student made documentary by 16 year old, Madison Rambowski, on the seventeen year old, creator and owner of the clothing brand "Nalu", a brand dedicated to donating school uniforms to children in India. The documentary explores the highs and lows of starting a company at age twelve.

"Detention"Narrative |  Runtime: 02:46; Director: Garret Ballinger; Grade: Grade 11 from Columbus; School: Northern Burlington High School; Synopsis: A twist on the teen genre, the film concerns a group of students in detention who, in an act of breaking the fourth wall, are able to hear the narrator of the film. The narrator begins revealing the thoughts of the characters, as a typical film narrator would, yet the thoughts are mostly personal or humiliating to the characters.

"Double C" Narrative |  Runtime: 06:22; Director: Alexandra Lehotsky; Grade: Grade 11 from Red Bank; School: Middletown High School North; Synopsis: Chesney Smith isn't your typical 5th grade girl...or your typical girl. She'd rather be playing basketball than go to some stupid dance. Her sister, Chloe Smith, however, thinks otherwise. A witty coming of age tale, Double C exposes the pressures faced by young girls.

"Dreaming About You"Narrative |  Runtime: 01:41; Director: Gia Caruso; Grade: Grade 11 from Howell; School: Communications High School; Synopsis: A young girl finds herself constantly thinking about one of her close friends.

"Electric Love" Narrative |  Runtime: 03:44; Directors: Alexandra Weitzman, Emily McNeil; Grade: Grade 11 from Freehold; School: Communications High School; Synopsis: Dylan can't stop thinking about his crush, but will he gather enough courage to talk to her?

"M.A.R.C.U.S."Animation |  Runtime: 03:24; Director: Brittany Hope; Grade: Grade 11 from Columbus; School: Northern Burlington High School; Synopsis: Inspired by classic video games. Marcus must survive a day in highschool. But a new challenge faces him. Can he help his teacher or fail the year. It is all in your hands the player.

"Nightmare at Musical High"Narrative |  Runtime: 04:00; Director: Kerry Harper; Grade: Grade 11 from Atlantic Highlands; School: Henry Hudson Regional High School; Synopsis: A girl is trapped in an endless dream as she tries to escape her school through the use of song.

"Scraps"Animation |  Runtime: 04:48; Director: Shannon Miller; Grade: Grade 11 from Manalapan; School: Howell High School; Synopsis: An anthropomorphic piece of fabric follows its dreams to become a dress.

"Technicolor"Narrative |  Runtime: 05:07; Director: Sarah Laide; Grade: Grade 11 from Westfield; School: Westfield High School; Synopsis: A girl who's life drastically changes when she meets her first love.

"The Ones Who Were Left Behind"Documentary |  Runtime: 05:32; Director: Leah Ginion; Grade: Grade 11 from Medford; School: Shawnee High School; Synopsis: A family dealing with the aftermath of losing a beloved son and brother to suicide.

"You Are Enough PSA"Narrative |  Runtime: 01:30; Director: Summer Ward; Grade: Grade 11 from Oceanport; School: Communications High School; Synopsis: A PSA about self-esteem in girls.

"Dalton vs. Malcolm: The Battle For Glory"Narrative |  Runtime: 04:18; Director: Thomas Hughes; Grade: Grade 12 from West Orange; School: West Orange High School; Synopsis: Dalton Hughes (Rajeev Persad) and Malcolm Smith (Tyrone Brooks) are your normal high school students. Conflict arises when Dalton steals a valuable possession of Malcolm, so a documentary crew follows the two and their peers as the most ridiculous school fight of the century is about to begin.

"Doors to the New Vocabulary"Narrative |  Runtime: 04:51; Director: Carly Rose Drabec; Grade: Grade 12 from Oceanport; School: Communications High School; Synopsis: 4 words. 4 meanings. 4 places.

"GONE"Narrative |  Runtime: 05:30; Director: Alice Almiron; Grade: Grade 12 from Passaic; School: Passaic High School; Synopsis: A boy remembers when they took his mother away.

"Imperfect"Narrative |  Runtime: 04:48; Director: Lauren Plattman; Grade: Grade 12 from Berkeley Heights; School: Livingston High School; Synopsis: A deeper look into the lives of 21st century teens through the lens of social media.

"Nerves"Narrative |  Runtime: 04:00; Director: Hunter Clark; Grade: Grade 12 from Point Pleasant Beach; School: Point Pleasant Beach High School; Synopsis: I was watching "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", and I thought, what if Ferris Bueller wasn't the confident out going guy that he was? What if Ferris Bueller was a looser? Asking the girl out is hard enough, but what happens when your thrown into that sedation unexpectedly?

"Subconscious Paranoia"Narrative |  Runtime: 01:58; Directors: Julia Picozzi, Krista Reilly; Grade: Grade 12 from Middletown; School: Middletown High School North; Synopsis: Reality does not seem as is when you look into your own eyes. Are they her own or those of a strange girl?

"The Dance"Narrative |  Runtime: 09:56; Director: Eitan Miller; Grade: Grade 12 from Chatham; School: Chatham High School; Synopsis: Adam is ready for the perfect school dance with his date Abby, but he's forgotten one important thing...

"The Tiny Visit" Animation |  Runtime: 03:21; Director: Tyson Animation Class; Grade: Grade 12 from East Orange; School: Cicely Tyson High School; Synopsis: A scared little discovers friendship and love with some magical creatures in the night and overcomes his fears.

"Tick-Tock"Narrative |  Runtime: 03:24; Director: Keegan Tindall; Grade: Grade 12 from Columbus; School: Northern Burlington High School; Synopsis: A time traveling watch leads a teenager on a day for the ages.

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Event calendar
Sunday, Feb 17, 2019


A NINA SIMONE TRIBUTE @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cherish the Ladies @ Stockton Performing Arts Center (StocktonPAC) in Galloway, Galloway - 2:00pm

SHANGHAI OPERA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 3:00pm

Red Velvet 2nd Concert [REDMARE] in USA @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 7:00pm

The Green Planet at Rockaway Mall ! @ Rockaway Mall, Rockaway - 1:00pm


Angelina Ballerina The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 2:00pm

An Enemy Of The People @ Centenary Stage Company - Sitnik Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 2:00pm

Ragtime @ Eagle Theatre, Hammonton - 3:00pm

My Very Own British Invasion @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

A Better Place To Be @ The Growing Stage: The Childrens Theatre of New Jersey, Netcong - 4:00pm

CHICAGO, THE MUSICAL @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 2:00pm

Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical @ George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

MadMan, a solo show by Jake Robertson @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 8:00pm

KICKING & SWEARING One-Act Festival (Programs A & B) @ Hamilton Stage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 2:00pm

Psychodrama @ Oakes Center, Summit - 2:00pm

SOLO FLIGHTS: Bicycle Face @ Passage Theatre Company, Trenton - 3:00pm

Roan at The Gates @ Luna Stage, West Orange - 3:00pm


DISNEY'S FROZEN SING-A-LONG @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 1:00pm and 4:00pm


Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 1:00pm and 4:00pm

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