The stakes for filmmakers entering the Santa Monica International Teen Film Festival just got a lot higher.

The college-bound teenager who wins Best Overall Film at the June 2019 festival will receive a $40,000 tuition scholarship to the BFA Film & Digital Content program at the Studio School, a four-year entertainment college in Downtown Los Angeles and an accredited branch of Philadelphia-based Hussian College. The school operates on the L.A. Center Studios production lot and offers students mentorship from industry professionals.

“We are a school that was very uniquely started inside of the entertainment industry,” said Studio Enterprise founder Glenn Kalison. “From the beginning, we tapped into youth teen festivals around the country as a recruiting tool to find filmmakers who wanted an industry-immersed, practical experience rather than going the traditional film school route.”

The festival previously partnered with Relativity Media to produce the festival and offer a $3,500 scholarship for a workshop at the Relativity School, which renamed itself the Studio School. The City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs is now partnering with the school’s new parent company, Studio Enterprise. Kalison said Studio Enterprise is aiming to help the event grow and become a world-class teen festival.

“The Santa Monica Teen Film Festival has grown every year since its inception with an increase in submissions. As technology has changed and teenagers have grown more sophisticated, we have also seen a huge change in quality of films since our launch,” said Shannon Daut, City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Manager. “We are happy to be teaming with Studio Enterprise to further expand the brand and increase visibility of the festival and the teen filmmakers who are part of it.”

Entering its 14th year, the festival takes submissions from teens age 12-18 around the world for films between 60 seconds and 15 minutes in length. Past entries have been submitted from Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, France, Germany, Peru, and New Zealand, among others.

A selection committee that includes teens will choose films based on their originality, entertainment value, technical quality, and resourcefulness. Storytelling and technical abilities will both be important in the selection process, Kalison said.

The tuition scholarship will go to the rising high school senior or recent graduate who wins Best Overall Film. If the winner is entering their junior year or below, they will receive a $3,000 scholarship to a summer filmmaking program at the Studio Institute Camps.

“The $40,000 scholarship would apply over four years to a bachelor’s program, and it would work in tandem with a lot of other scholarship programs we have (at Studio School),” Kalison said. “We’re committed to making this education affordable to young talent.”

Local teens also have a chance to win the Santa Monica Next Gen Award, which is exclusive to young filmmakers who live, work, or go to school in Santa Monica. Other entrants can win awards for live action, documentary, animated, or experimental filmmaking. The festival also offers awards for public service announcements, music or dance, sustainability, and the Joseph Campbell Story Award, which honors the film with the best story.

Last year, the top award was given to Jonas Leonard Steinacker of Germany for his film “Heaven & Earth.” Other winners included Caleb Wild of Florida for his live action film “Cycle” and Kinly McCaffrey of Los Angeles for her documentary “Running for Her Life.”

Submissions will be accepted online at https://filmfreeway.com/ until Mar. 11, 2019 and filmmakers will be notified of acceptance on May 3, 2019. The festival will also receive entries through the Youth Cinema Network, a global network of youth film festivals. Entries will be screened in and around Santa Monica on June 22 and 23, 2019.

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