The stories of the world came to the Ambler Theater on Sunday thanks to the Film Now Festival, an international film festival tailored for budding high school screenwriters, directors, producers and editors. The festival, launched by Germantown Academy, gives students from all over the world the chance to showcase their work and have it juried by film professionals, including:
Tony Pitone (narrative juror)- An independent filmmaker, is a GA alumnus (1987) and has built a 20-year career in the film industry, specializing in post-production visual effects. While at Industrial Light and Magic, he worked on each of the three Star Wars prequels along with many other films.
Cameron Yates (documentary juror)- a documentary filmmaker and curator. He is the former Documentary Programmer for the Hamptons International Film Festival. Cameron has also worked for the Sundance Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, NewFest, Albert Maysles, and Zeitgeist Films and has been a contributor to indieWIRE. He is currently working on a feature documentary about Mariela Castro, President Raúl’s daughter, who is at the forefront of the LGBT rights movement in Cuba.
Natalie Difford (experimental juror)- Designs and oversees the development of filmmakers at Cinereach. Prior to joining Cinereach, she ran the non-profit film fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures. She has extensive film experience from development to festivals including, This is That, IFP, London Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, as well as various TV productions for A&E, Comedy Central, IFC and MTV Productions. Natalie was named one of the “Jezebel 25 Amazing and Kick-Ass Women” in 2012.
Josh Apter (Jury Prize)- Prior to founding The Padcaster, Apter founded Manhattan Edit Workshop, an Apple, Avid, Adobe, Autodesk, Assimilate and Blackmagic Authorized Training Center that offers a variety of classes in the art and technique of film editing & production. In addition, Apter is an award-winning writer, director, and editor who has worked in all areas of filmmaking.
Chris Elwood – Emcee’d Sunday’s event
During the screening and reception which was emceed by actor Chris Elwood, Film Now showed nine films and handed out awards for the three categories: narrative, documentary, experimental. In addition, a Jury Prize was given to Ava Young (Etobicoke School of the Arts – Toronto, Canada) for her documentary, You Look Nothing Like Your Mother.
Also, films from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware that received an Honorable Mention status were screened at the festival event as part of the ‘Tri-State Showcase.’ Of those showcased, filmmaker Nate Wiggins from Upper Dublin High School received honorable mention for his film called The Remote, and Germantown Academy filmmaker, David Nadwodny received honorable mention for his film, Farewell.
The Film Now Festival was launched by Germantown Academy and was born out of a passion for guiding young people to the art of filmmaking. Taking inspiration from the Digital Media program at Germantown Academy, alumnus Geoffrey Jackson ’87 and his family pledged a generous gift to create a film festival that would offer high school students from all over the globe the chance to submit original short films to be judged by a panel of industry experts.
photo: Germantown Academy, alumnus Geoffrey Jackson ’87
Over the years, Germantown Academy has produced a number of alumni who have had successful film and television careers, including: Tim Stack ’73 (Producer; Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, My Name Is Earl, and Cast Away), Robin Bissel ’86 (Producer, Writer, Director; Pleasantville, The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit), Stuart Miller ’90 (Emmy Award-winning producer, The Daily Show), Bradley Cooper ’93 (Academy Award and Tony Award nominated actor), Brian Klugman ’93 (Actor, Screenwriter, Director; The Words, Bones), Elisabeth Harris ’96 (Producer, Director; My Mother’s Garden, The Hermit of Manana), Andrew Greenblatt ’98 (Executive Director and CEO at The Philadelphia Film Society), Eve Cohen ’99 (Award-winning cinematographer; VICE, CNN, MTV, Sundance, Lifetime, History), Ben Haaz ’99 (Director of Audience Development at MTV Networks), Nolan Reese ’00 (Editor, Guardians of the Galaxy), Andrew Barrer ’02 (Screenwriter, Ant-Man and The Wasp), Andrew Fergus ’03 (Senior Vice Present of Strategic and Marketing and Research and 20th Century Fox), and Tim McAleer ’09 (Editor, Florentine Films, Ken Burns Production Company).