A film directing wunderkind akin to Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro or Claire Denis could be discovered at an upcoming film festival this weekend.

The Santa Monica International Teen Film Festival returns for its 14th iteration this weekend.  The festival showcases 60 second to 15 minute film submissions from teens around the globe, ages 13-18.

Prizes for filmmakers will include gift certificates, trophies and, for best overall film, 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.

While the film festival is international, Santa Monica teens will also have a chance to take home some recognition as well. The Santa Monica Next Gen Award, an award for budding Scorseses that live, work, or go to school in Santa Monica, will be awarded to Santa Monica’s best filmmaker.  

Past winners of the festival have included filmmakers from Germany, Florida, Singapore and of course, right here in Santa Monica.

“It’s a great community event,” said Melissa Huen, director of marketing at Studio Enterprise.  “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how the world tells stories, to see what young people can do and what they have to say about their own unique perspectives.”

Huen says the film festival received roughly 400 entries from 33 different countries, with most entries coming from the U.S., Canada, India and Australia. Of the festival’s categories ⁠— live action, experimental/music video, documentary, animation, sustainability, public service announcements ⁠— Huen says live action and animation reigned supreme in submissions.

“With today’s technology, anyone can make a movie and put a film out there,” Huen said.
“When you can see what these kids can do, what they can get across in their films, you’ll be surprised.”

After sifting through every last one of those 400 entries, Huen says moviegoers should give the Santa Monica International Teen a shot over whatever’s at the multiplex this weekend for one reason ⁠— tomorrow’s movie makers are making thoughtful movies today.

“The films, it seems like a lot of the students had things to say, they all had messages. It wasn’t just the fact that they had incredible stories to tell. They were moved by getting a message out there.”

The Santa Monica International Film Festival takes place Saturday, June 22nd and Sunday, June 23rd at the Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Boulevard. For more information, visit https://www.smgov.net/teenfilmfest.aspx



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