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2018 Film Now Festival Showcases Student Work from Mumbai to San Diego

There was a buzz in the air on Sunday afternoon as student filmmakers entered The Ambler Theater and walked the red carpet at the screening and awards ceremony for the 2018 Film Now Festival, an international high school film festival hosted by Germantown Academy that gives students from all over the world the opportunity to showcase their work and have it juried by film professionals, including Tony Pitone '87 (Narrative Juror), Cameron Yates (Documentary Juror), Natalie Difford (Experimental Juror), and Josh Apter '89 (Jury Prize).

There was plenty of anticipation leading up to Sunday's event. Overall, 81 short films from 24 schools, 10 states, and seven countries were deemed "in consideration."

"The quality of films in consideration this year was incredibly impressive," said Germantown Academy Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications Adam McGrath, who has led the festival the past three years. "The depth of storytelling, emotional honesty, and technical achievement demonstrated in our finalists' work proves what young filmmakers can do. To have the opportunity to be assessed by industry professionals, network with their peers, and see their film up on the big screen along with an audience is something that will stay with them as they pursue a career in the arts. It's very rewarding to work on a festival that provides that kind of platform."

2018 Film Now Festival Photo Gallery

In the end, three films from each of the categories (Narrative, Experimental, Documentary) were selected as finalists and shown during Sunday's screening. Finalists were also awarded cash prizes for first, second, and third place ($300, $200, $100).

2018 Film Now Festival Finalists

Narrative Films

1st PlaceJasmine StungPartho GupteOberoi International SchoolMumbai, India
2nd PlaceThe Man With A PlanGabe SchmidtCincinnati Hills Christian AcademyCincinnati, Ohio
3rd PlaceZombie GrasCameron WheelessLandry Walker High SchoolNew Orleans, Louisiana
Honorable MentionHYACINTH Ava YoungEtobicoke School of the ArtsToronto, Canada
Honorable MentionThe RemoteNate WigginsUpper Dublin High SchoolFort Washington
Honorable MentionDon't Open the DoorVasile Berde Luca StefanIon Luca Caragiale National CollegeBucharest, Romania

Experimental Films

1st PlaceIt Won't HurtThomas RubinoWestlake High SchoolThornwood, New York
2nd PlaceOta BengaQuan DoGeorge SchoolNewtown, Pennsylvania
3rd PlaceThe Track We're OnIsabelle BerthelotEpiscopal School of AcadianaBroussard, Louisiana
Honorable MentionL'AlchimisteChris LowryHenry Hudson Regional High SchoolHighlands, New Jersey
Honorable MentionThe Chew Up WatchAlireza KhalediShahid Qoddusi High SchoolQom, Iran

Documentary Films

1st PlaceYou Look Nothing Like Your MotherAva YoungEtobicoke School of the ArtsToronto, Canada
2nd PlaceChangyou's JourneyPerry ChenCanyon Crest AcademySan Diego, California
3rd PlaceDandelion Ana GutierrezPerth Amboy High SchoolPerth Amboy, New Jersey

Ava Young of Toronto, who won the Documentary Category for her brilliant film, You Look Nothing Like Your Mother, also received the overall Jury Prize, a Padcaster Verse Kit. The Jury Prize was selected by Apter, founder of The Padcaster and The Padcaster Verse, which transform tablets and smart phones into mobile media powerhouses.

Five area films that were given Honorable Mention awards were also screened as part of the Tri-State Showcase.

The 2018 Film Now Festival Tri-State Showcase Honorable Mentions:

The RemoteNate WigginsUpper Dublin High SchoolFort Washington, Pennsylvania
L'AlchimisteChris LowryHenry Hudson Regional High SchoolHighlands, New Jersey
FarewellDavid Nadwodny '18Germantown AcademyFort Washington, Pennsylvania
What is DACA?Giselle GuzmanEsperanza Academy Charter SchoolPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Puzzle PieceAllison RichesHatboro-Horsham High SchoolHorsham, Pennsylvania


Local filmmakers that participated included students from Abington High School, Episcopal Academy, Esperanza Academy Charter High School, George School, Germantown Academy, Hatboro-Horsham High School, Pope John Paul II, Springfield Township High School, Upper Dublin High School, William Penn Charter School, and Wissahickon High School.

The Film Now Festival was launched by GA and was born out of a passion for guiding young people to the art of filmmaking. Taking inspiration from the Digital Media program at GA, alumnus Geoffrey Jackson '87 and his family pledged a generous gift to create a film festival that would offer high school students from all over the globe the chance to submit original short films to be judged by a panel of industry experts.