Tuesday, March 4, 2014


: Submissions accepted March 1; April 21, 2014 Submission Deadline

  • New Jersey’s high school filmmakers may submit their DVDs via US mail no later than April 21.
  • Films entered in the contest must be between 5 and 12 minutes long. There is a $20 entry fee.
  • Finalists will be notified by May 15, and invited to the June screening of their work where the winners will be judged and prizes awarded. The screening will be open to the public.
  • DVD entries can be mailed to THE THEATER PROJECT, Box 101, Union, NJ 07083.
  • Entrants should include a cover letter with a short biography of the entrant, including contact information and school attended, and a statement saying the film is being submitted by its owner or licensee, giving The Theater Project the right to publicly screen the film as part of the festival.
  • DVD entries will not be returned.

Having encouraged young writers for a dozen years through its annual contest for high school playwrights, The Theater Project is reaching out to young movie enthusiasts as well in a Young Filmmakers Competition.

“Film and theater are both concerned with telling stories and exchanging ideas,” says competition coordinator Will Budnikov of Woodbridge. “Both mediums give kids the chance to develop critical thinking skills as they pick and choose the words and images that will tell their story.”

The Theater Project is an award-winning professional company in residence at The Burgdorff Cultural Center in Maplewood, NJ. Past winners of the Playwrights Competition have gone on to pursue degrees in theater and playwriting, and they often return to The Theater Project to present prizes and share their journeys with the newest honorees. The Theater Project hopes the same will hold true for the participants in the new filmmaking competition.

“The goal of all our programs—mainstage productions, playwrights workshops, classes and competitions for kids, artist panels and discussions—is to build a creative community that can support the artist in each one of us,” according to the company’s director, Mark Spina.

“We want to make sure that kids know how appreciated their creative efforts are by showcasing them in front of the community,” says Budnikov. “In tough economic times, the arts sometimes get short changed as people struggle to make ends meet and schools see their budgets shrink. But when kids lose out on arts experiences, they miss opportunities to develop critical thinking and reading skills that are needed now more than ever.”

Among the judges of the competition will be Linden resident Bill Mesce, Jr., an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, whose recent short story collection, PRECIS, was published by Stephen F. Austin University Press. He is also the author of OVERKILL: THE RISE AND FALL OF THRILLER CINEMA, and writes regularly about film and television for the award-winning website, Sound on Sight.

Complete competition guidelines are available at, 908.809.8865