SANTA FE — Students from across New Mexico will be creating short films this school year to learn valuable skills and gain experience in one of the state’s rapidly growing industries, with opportunities to earn scholarships for themselves and grants for their schools.
Thirty-eight schools from 10 counties have already signed up to participate in Film Prize Junior New Mexico, a statewide short-film contest that will end with a festival next April at theater partners in Santa Fe. Interested teachers may still register their classes at filmprizenm.com, and students may register on their own with a teacher sponsor.
“This project exposes K-12 students to filmmaking at a time when they are beginning to contemplate college and career,” said Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus, whose department is a partner in Film Prize Junior New Mexico. “Many New Mexico colleges and universities offer filmmaking programs, and this initiative could point students in that direction.”
Film Prize Junior New Mexico will provide K-12 students and teachers access to film editing software, help procure other equipment and provide professional mentors from the industry and interns from New Mexico higher education institutions. The mentors will provide in-person and virtual workshops to guide students and teachers through the filmmaking process, from developing concepts, scripts and storyboards through all phases of production and post-production.
“Film Prize Junior New Mexico is a forward-thinking program that will provide the youngest of New Mexicans an opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience and insight into the film industry,” said Amber Dodson, director of the New Mexico Film Office. “As the New Mexico film industry continues to rapidly expand, we are looking to quickly build up the state’s crew base, and we hope this program will turn out a new generation of New Mexico filmmakers.”
The finished short films will be shown during the student-produced festival April 22-24, 2022, in Santa Fe.
Students will compete in multiple categories to win digital media and filmmaking grants for their schools, student scholarships and teacher recognition awards. Prizes will be provided by sponsor, public and private funding.
Film Prize Junior New Mexico is sponsored by two nonprofits: New Mexico-based Stagecoach Foundation and Prize Foundation of Louisiana. Other partners include the New Mexico Public Education Department, GEAR UP New Mexico, Adobe and Watchbeem.