filmyoungfest 2019 winners

filmyoungfest 2019 winnersPHOTO: Many of the finalists for FilmYoungFest hail from New Jersey. Those present at the reception and screening June 27 included (l to r front row) Hannah Cohen (Little Silver MS), Sofia Bracken (Little Silver MS), Juliana Santamauro (Howell HS), Nicky Chinn (Howell HS), Amelia Johnson (Communication HS) (l to right back row) Claire Harrington (Middletown South HS), Leah Bohner (Middletown South HS), Giovana Caruso (Communication HS), Alexandra Weitzman (Communication HS), Ava Papunen (Communication HS),  Jackie Siminerio (Communication HS), Shannon Miller (Howell HS). Photo credit – Sally Stopper and Stop Sally Stop Photography.

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – Local students from New Jersey were the big winners in this year’s FilmYoungFest, beating out competition from 40 countries. “FilmOneFest gives youths of varying age a platform to express their creative visions and personal statements all under two minutes in length.  The student filmmakers are under the age of 22,” explained Corinna Thuss, Managing Director of FilmOneFest. “The top two are then automatically included in the main festival on July 20.”

Juliana Santamauro and Nicky Chinn, recent graduates from Howell High School, took home the Young Filmmaker Award for their animated short “Vibes” beating out a field of 31 finalists.  The two have made seven films together.  Santamauro will continue to study film at Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall.

“There were 31 films in this screening and nearly half of them were New Jersey natives so we established the New Jersey Filmmaker Award this year,” said David Salowe, Submissions Director for FilmOneFest.  Winners were Giovanna Caruso and Alexandra Weitzman from Communications High School for their short comedy “New Year New Me.”


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The audience used their phones to vote for their favorite films and the winner was “Kebbabed” a short comedy by Middletown South team of Kelsey O’Keefe, Lauren Palmadesso, Samantha Vuotto, Leah Bohner, and Claire Harrington. Teachers Christopher Corey and Victor Bayers were in attendance at the reception and screening.

Local filmmakers in attendance for both the screening and opening reception held at the Atlantic Highlands Art Council (AHAC) Gallery included all the winners as well as Shannon Miller (Howell High School), Hannah Cohen, Sofia Bracken with teacher Jill Lynch (Little Silver Middle School), Ava Papunen, Jackie Siminerio, Amelia Johnson (Communications High School).

“We are proud to celebrate the many talented young filmmakers poised for a future where the visual form will be more and more integral to how we communicate,” Thuss said.

FilmOneFest is a volunteer project of the AHAC a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to strengthening community through the arts.  The Council is funded in part by Monmouth Arts through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and The New Jersey State Council on the Arts. For more information, go to

For more information about FilmYoungFest and FilmOneFest’s many events like the popular 24-Hour Film Slam which will take place at Monmouth University on November 1st & 2nd, and multiple Movie Premiere’s provided by Sony Pictures Classics, visit

FilmOneFest programming is made possible by the support of media sponsors: Atlantic Cinemas; A. Kupper, PE; Blue Bay Inn; Secret Stash; Janet Peterson; Monmouth University; and PepsiCo. FilmOneFest is also thankful for the support of Tom Bernard and Sony Pictures Classics and Kevin Smith.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...