Press Releases

NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Department of Education Announce First Annual Public School Film Festival

Festival showcased 20 short films by middle and high school students

Included a Career Day panel of industry pros including Jon Batiste, Mimi Valdes, Tim Squires & Alexander Dinelaris


NEW YORK — Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza and Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo today announced the first annual NYC Public School Film Festival. Twenty student films were selected from more than 50 submissions from public middle and high schools citywide in the categories of Feature/Narrative, Animation, Experimental, PSA Advocacy, and Documentary.

"I have experienced firsthand the transformative power of high-quality arts education, and I'm proud to join the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment in the launch of the first annual NYC Public School Film Festival," said NYC Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. "The skills our students learn in the arts help them thrive in and out of the classroom, and this festival will give talented young filmmakers an unprecedented opportunity to showcase their work for leaders and trailblazers in the industry."

"We are thrilled to launch the first annual NYC Public School Film Festival in partnership with the NYC Department of Education," said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo. "Not only does this festival give talented young filmmakers a chance to showcase their work, but the career expo and panel offers a chance to learn about jobs in the industry from some of the most successful and interesting people in the business."

Films were judged by a panel of NYC Public School film teachers; director, producer & Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker Lisa Gossels; and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, animator, and professor Jeff Scher.

The screening of the films at the NYIT auditorium was followed by a panel discussion with esteemed filmmakers, screenwriters, and composers who provided insight and guidance into the entertainment industry.

The panel included:

  • Jon Batiste, acclaimed Musician, Composer & Bandleader, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • Mimi Valdes, Chief Creative Officer of i am OTHER, a multi-media creative collective created by Pharrell Williams; Executive Producer of Hidden Figures; Producer of Roxanne Roxanne 
  • Alexander Dinelaris, Academy Award® and Golden Globe® winning screenwriter for Birdman, Co-Producer on the three-time Academy Award® winning film The Revenant 
  • Tim Squyres, Academy Award®-winning editor, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi, Gemini Man

Dana Kuznetzkoff, producer of film, television and theatre projects, (including HBO's Boardwalk Empire and The Wire, and NBC's Smash) served as the panel moderator.

A Film and Media Careers Expo took place during the second half of the day. It was an opportunity for the young filmmakers interested in pursuing higher education or workforce programs to speak with industry representatives, learn about the latest filmmaking technologies, and gather information about media studies programs. It featured innovative companies providing hands-on demos and distributing internship program information including Blue Sky Studios, VICE Media, RLab, Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), Reel Works, Unseen Media, SVA, NYU, Hunter, and Brooklyn College.