Montclair International Film Festival’s Kidz Shortz Competition

At the impending debut of the Montclair International Film Festival, audiences will get a chance to see the next generation of cinema artists not only before they become film superstars, but before they’re even old enough to drive.

Barista Kids is the proud media sponsor of the MIFF’s Kidz Shortz competition, which is open to young local filmmakers (grades 4-12). Each entrant submitted a short film that’s no longer than 4 minutes and expresses the theme “My Town…The Way I See It.” (There’s still time to enter: the deadline is October 31, and entry info is here.)

Once all of the entries are in and have been screened for the festival jury of film students from Montclair State University, professional filmmakers, and peer judges from Montclair schools, Kidz Shortz winners and honorable mentions will be announced at a November press event. Prizes include a Digital Filmmaking Course at Montclair Art Museum, a semester at School of Rock Montclair, passes to movies and much more. Stay tuned to Barista Kids for the official date and time.

To get a sneak peek at what’s in store from Baristaville’s budding cinéastes, we spoke with a few Kidz Shortz contestants about the films they made and the films they love:

Allegra Givens is an 11th grader at Montclair High who made A Slice of Montclair, a short look at the Montclair Bread Company. Allegra says she wanted to show “its mission, its impact on the town, its beginnings, and what owning a small business in Montclair is like.” Her favorite movie is Inception, “because every time I watch it I understand more and more and its meaning gets deeper.” Allegra’s Kidz Shortz film is here, and her other work is on her LightsCameraAllegra YouTube channel.

James Feinberg, who is in 8th grade at Glenfield Middle School, made a “How To Guide” about Montclair that he describes as a spoof of “the cliche of the theme” of the contest. James’ favorite film is The Godfather, particularly Francis Ford Coppola’s direction, which “allows him to manipulate the viewer with suspense, use brilliantly vivid lighting no matter what the situation, and wildly vary the shot types depending on the situation and still end up with a movie that makes perfect visual sense.”

Anna and Zoe Ferguson (9th and 12th grades, respectively, at Montclair Kimberly Academy) are a sister team from West Orange whose film is called Green Light. Zoe says that the movie is “a musical interpretation of a song that my sister Anna and I wrote together. It is about the inspiration handed down to me by my family, friends, and neighbors to always keep going.” Anna adds that “I learned from my neighbors and parents that I should never stop at the red light, I should keep going and zoom through the yellow light, as mentioned in my song. Meaning, never stop when tough times hit you.” Anna says her favorite movie is High Fidelity, and Zoe puts The Apartment on top of her list. You can watch their Green Light here.

And Sean Ford, a senior at Pope John XXIII Regional High School whose favorite movie is Gladiator, made his film about Beaver Lake: “Nestled in the woods of northern New Jersey is a small lake community called Beaver Lake, where my family and I spend summers playing tennis, reading, fishing, and enjoying time with close friends. It is a place where the absence of cell phones, computers, and televisions are common. This community allows people to step away from such an over-connected society and learn to enjoy life for the moment.”

Good luck to these and all of the other Kidz Shortz contestants! If you want to know more about the Montclair Film Festival’s Kidz Shortz competition, visit here.

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