After breaking its attendance record, Film Prize Junior’s 2023 festival came to a close Sunday during a live broadcasted Awards Ceremony where the winning films were announced and over $12,000 in scholarships and media grants were awarded. The festival, presented by the Prize Foundation, was part of Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s Artbreak!
The festival featured screenings of a record-breaking 92 films from 50 schools across the state of Louisiana, 28 of which were Title One schools. Student filmmakers and their teachers, families, and friends were able to view the films during in-person screenings and vote on their favorite films for the Audience Choice winners.
“We were blown away by the attendance and exuberance of these teachers and kids who came from all over the state to show their film and to celebrate filmmaking,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Executive Director and Founder of the Prize Foundation. “Film Prize Junior is one of the most important things we do, and seeing these kids being transformed by this program is incredibly inspirational to me and Team Film Prize Junior.”
In addition to viewing and voting for films, the festival hosted a virtual red carpet for the student filmmakers, industry-led mentorship panels for students and their teachers, and Production Island, an interactive exhibit where students were given guided hands-on access to cameras as well as lighting and sound equipment. Additional support for the event was given by Louisiana Economic Development’s Entertainment Division and Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association.
This year’s festival also hosted hands-on demonstrations with teams from Panavision, MBS Equipment Company, Crafty Apes, and Bossier Parish Community College as well as representatives from IATSE #478 demonstrating Hollywood-style digital animation and filmmaking, hair and makeup styling, lighting techniques, and more. All the events were free to attend for students and their teacher sponsors.
The awards were a standing-room-only affair and were filled with students and teachers cheering for each other as the winners were called by the Film Prize Junior Staff members.
And the winners of Film Prize Junior 2023 are…
In the high school division, Reap What You Sow from Woodlawn High School was selected by the voters to receive the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film, receiving a $1,500 equipment grant, $250 for student celebration, and $250 to the sponsoring teacher. A panel of industry professionals voted for the Judges’ Choice Award, which was presented to Ghost from Caddo Magnet High School. The school received a $2,500 media grant along with $1,000 for student celebration award, and $1,000 to the sponsoring teacher.
For the middle school division, the Audience Choice Award went to The Green Room from Caddo Middle Magnet, earning a $750 equipment grant for the school $250 award for the sponsoring teacher. The Judge’s Choice Award went to Cherrywinche from Plainview High School. The school received a $1,500 equipment grant, $500 for student celebration, and $500 to the sponsoring teacher.
Films were also recognized for best of animation and best of each film genre. For high school, Best Animation went both to Pride for Our Planet from Bruin Theater Alliance and Shamefaced from New Orleans Center for Creative Arts; Best Comedy to A Black Girl’s Court Room from Northside High School; Best Drama to Ghost from Caddo Magnet High School; Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy to A Tabletop Journey from West Ouachita High School; Best Thriller both to Reap What You Sow from Woodlawn High School and The Janitor from Plainview High School; and Best Documentary to Martha’s Journey from New Orleans Military & Maritime Academy.
For middle school, Best Animation went both to The Costume Gift from First Baptist Church School and To the Moon and Back from Southfield School; Best Comedy went to The Green Room from Caddo Middle Magnet; Best Drama to Cherrywinche from Plainview High School; Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy to Virtual Exit from Harriet Tubman Charter School; and Best Thriller to Plaything from McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School of Visual & Performing Arts.
In addition to the best of categories, select films were chosen to receive a Founder’s Circle award. The Founder’s Circle provides $250 grants to the schools to create films for next year’s festival.
For high school films, the awards went to the following: A Day in the Office from Benton High School; Marwan’s Suit from Warren Easton Charter High School; Outside My Comfort Zone from John Ehret High School; Sean the Sleeper from North Caddo High School; Something for Your Mind from West Ouachita High School; The Circle from Captain Shreve High School; Nowhere Girl from C.E. Byrd High School; and Do Black Lives Matter? from Booker T. Washington High School.
For middle school films, the awards went to the following: Moe-Shin from Bossier Parish School for Technology & Innovative Learning; Little Red from Donnie Bickham Middle School, Time Traveling through Middle School from First Baptist Church School, Misunderstood from Catholic Schoolhouse, and The Djin from T.H. Harris Middle School.
Film Prize Junior is the student version of the Film Prize Foundation’s flagship festival, Louisiana Film Prize. It is open to high school and middle school students across the state of Louisiana. The competition was created by Tobias Kallenberg, son of Film Prize founder Gregory Kallenberg, and aims to incentivize students to become engaged in the collaborative, multidisciplinary art form of filmmaking and creative entrepreneurship while guiding students through the entire process from pen to production to marketing of the film.
For more information about the program and to view the films, visit FilmPrizeJr.com.