(MAHWAH, NJ) -- Just a few days after Oscar nominations blanketed news channels, Ramapo College’s sixth annual RCNJ High School Film Festival took center stage on Saturday, January 28th at the Berrie Center on campus. More than 150 films were submitted by students from high schools across New Jersey. Among the more than 40 high schools that participated, submissions hailed from nearby Bergen County Academies in Bergen County, Passaic County Technical Institute in neighboring Passaic County, Bayonne High School in Hudson County, and even as far south as Middletown and Raritan High Schools in Monmouth County.
The official selections included 42 films chosen by a panel of Ramapo College film faculty, current Ramapo film students and industry professionals. Students entered original films in a variety of genres and were awarded in several categories including Best Editing, Best Writing, Best Cinematography, Best Acting, Best Animation, Best Documentary, Best Fiction Film, and Best of the Fest. Each entrant received an Oscar-type statuette.
Approximately $5,000 in film equipment and software awards were distributed to winners from sponsors of the event.
Reflecting on the success of the event, Neel Scott, Associate Professor of Digital Filmmaking at Ramapo College shared, “This was the sixth annual festival and our biggest yet, with over 200 filmmakers, friends, parents, cast and crew packing the Berrie Center’s Sharp Theater to watch 42 films of every type and genre from dozens of high schools all across New Jersey.”
“If the films from the festival are any evidence," continued Scott, "the next generation of New Jersey filmmakers is very talented. We look forward to continuing to grow the festival each year, and to screening the impressive work of New Jersey high school students.”
The winners included:
Best Cinematography - 23, directed by Anthony Conte; Lakeland Regional High School
Best Editing - Why My Room is Never Clean, directed by Sharice Lacson; High Tech High School
Best Screenwriting - TARDY! written by Joshua Apostolico and Jarrett Jackson; Columbia High School
Best Actor - Caroline Sheridan, SHREDS OF EVIDENCE; Park Ridge High School
Best Documentary - Maya Zeidman, ISLA NENA; East Brunswick Magnet School – School of the Arts
Best Fiction Film - Ross Perlman for OBLIGATORY PARASITE; Columbia High School
Best Animation - Leonardo Tarascio for CRISIS; River Dell Regional High School
Best of the Fest - Gabrielle Werts for A CASE OF YOU; East Brunswick Magnet School – School of the Arts
Planning will soon be underway for next year’s festival. Visit the RCNJ Film Festival website for more information.