Teen film festival offered at Arlington Heights library

Nine years ago, a former teen librarian came up with the idea to host a Teen Film Festival to encourage teens to get involved in film production and it has been an annual event ever since.

The contest is open to teens from seventh grade to recent high school graduates. According to librarian Tom Spicer, this diversity allows for all levels of creativity to be showcased. The Teen Film Fest is put together by the library’s teen department.  The contest officially began on May 4 and the library will be accepting submissions until Aug. 7.

This contest is not judged by those who work at The Hub, but is instead judged by Daily Herald film critic Dann Gire, Teen Advisory Board (TAB) president Selena Groh and one other judge that is yet to be determined.

“It’s been nine awesome years,” Spicer said. “We have always enjoyed this event and we know our partner in this, the Metropolis Theatre, enjoys it greatly as well.”

In terms of partnership with the local Metropolis theatre, the event will be held on Aug. 21 from 7-9 p.m. to screen films from the contest. A $300 cash prize will be awarded to the overall winner, and a red carpet experience for the filmmakers will be held one hour prior to the start of the event.

“We recognize all films,” Spicer said. “We screen and recognize during the event best movie overall, best music video and more.”

Participants can create anything from a horror film to an animated film. Submissions have no set time limit.

The contest is looking for students who simply want to have fun with the project. Sophomore Henry Ritz, who is entering the contest, has always enjoyed the process of filmmaking.

“I have my own YouTube channel that I update regularly,” Ritz said. “So I love film.”

Ritz also said that it’s not often that his work gets to be viewed in a live public setting and that is why the event is appealing to him.

“It would be great to see it on an actual big-screen,” Ritz said. “Having my films viewed in a more realistic setting would be pretty cool.”    

Spicer also says not every entry is screened during the event due to the popularity of the contest, as it all depends on the length of the prize-winning videos.

This film does not have to be edited at the library itself. Contestants are allowed to film and edit anywhere they wish, but it is asked that parents play a minimal part in the process.

“Even if you don’t have film experience, all you really need is a camera, an idea and some friends,” Groh said.