Photo: Kareem Wilder for Montclair Film

MONTCLAIR, NJ – Montclair Film celebrated the 2022 Emerging Filmmaker Competition (EFC) winners — filmmakers in two filmmaking sections, Storytellers (Grades 6-8) and Visionaries (Grades 9-12) — with a screening Saturday at The Clairidge followed by a reception. The films represent a wide range of styles and voices that showcase the diverse talents of young people who are using cinema to tell their stories. Categories include drama, comedy, documentary, experimental, animated, horror, and social impact films, with awards given in each category, as well as the inaugural Visionary Award, which is a prize for outstanding overall creative and technical achievement across all categories.

Each year, the EFC Jury is made up of industry professionals who evaluate the films in each category. This year’s judges were Evan Baily (producer), Evan Cutler (producer), Rasheed Daniel (Producer, Director and Owner, TeamSheed Productions), Mark Fitzmartin (Producer), Amy Friedman (Head of Kids and Family Programming, Warner Brothers), Manny Galán (Writer/ Director/Producer).

Winning films are available for online viewing by visiting

“The continued excellence of the work of young filmmakers in our EFC program is a testament to these incredibly talented young artists,” said Montclair Film Director of Education Sue Hollenberg. “We are so proud to have received so many wonderful films from all of the filmmakers who submitted their work, and we celebrate these extraordinary students in the hopes that they will continue their passion for filmmaking.”

Montclair Film’s 2022 Emerging Filmmaker Competition Winners:

Visionary Award
Olyvia Okochi, Montclair High, outstanding overall creative and technical achievement in her films “How to Murder Your Husband” and “To Cheat or Not to Cheat”.

VISIONARIES (Grades 9 – 12)

Grand Prize – Comedy
Stephen Sassano, Middletown High School South, “Staple”

Special Jury Prize – Comedy
Courtney Plaza, Columbia High School, “Pentameter Posse”

Grand Prize – Drama
Daniel Scharf, Bridgewater Raritan High School, “A Bounty”.

Special Jury Prize – Drama
Evelyn Reese and Giulia Abreu, Bridgewater Raritan High School, “End of Milkshake”

Grand Prize – Experimental Film
Zoey Ness, Middletown High School South, “MM61”

Special Jury Prize – Experimental Film
Caitlin Bieri, East Brunswick Tech – School of the Arts, “Creative Block”

Grand Prize – Horror
Maya Zeidman, East Brunswick Tech – School of the Arts, “Transcend”

Grand Prize – Animation
Sophia Consalvo, Bridgewater-Raritan High School, “A Moment to Breathe”

Grand Prize – Social Impact
Andre Harris, Passaic County Technical Institute, “Blast Off”

Special Jury Prize – Social Impact
Brianna Pares, Passaic County Technical Institute, “1 v 1: You vs the World”

Grand Prize – Documentary
Jasmine Crespo, Essex County Schools of Technology, “Newark”

Special Jury Prizes – Documentary
Drew Rosania, William Penn Charter School, “Dan the Man” and
Maya Zeidman, East Brunswick Tech – School of the Arts, “Isla Nena”

Storytellers (Grades 6 – 8)

Grand Prize – Storyteller Division
Jack Sclafane, Leonia Middle School, “Just a Quick Ad Break”