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Greenfield Youth Film Festival: Amplifying Youth Voices

Updated: May 10

By Jill Greenfield Feldman

Jill Feldman has been a Financial Manager at harp-weaver since November, 2022.  She became a Trustee at the Greenfield Foundation in 1998 and started the Greenfield Youth Film Festival with her late husband, Ronald Feldman, in 2007.

Greenfield Youth Film Festival started in the 2007-08 school year when students from five high schools were invited to a full-day workshop to learn from professional filmmakers. The students were assigned to make films, no more than 6 minutes long, and the ‘best’ would be shown at a red-carpet style event at the Ambler Theater.  So many parents, teachers, students, and community members showed up for that first awards night that there was an overflow into a second viewing room.  Beginning with that first night, there was feedback from the parents and the teachers about how much it meant to students to be able to show their talent. Whether it was screenwriting, cinematography, storytelling, or acting, so many had been doing it but had nowhere to showcase it.

Part of the reason that the Film Festival was started – a joint effort with the Greenfield Foundation, the School District of Upper Dublin, and the Upper Dublin Education Foundation, was to invite young people to tell their stories. We recognized that not everyone can be a good student, an athlete, or an artist, but everyone has a story.   This idea shaped the motto of the Festival, ‘Making Voices Heard.’

Fast forward sixteen years and we now have 18-22 high schools participating each year, over 300 students at the workshop, and receive between 200 and 300 film submissions annually.  Prizes are given for the highest rated films (by professional judges around the country) in the categories of Narrative, Documentary, and Experimental.  Awards are also given as determined by the judges for areas such as directing, producing, cinematography, comedy, sound design, and lighting. In all, 20 trophies are presented, most recently made by Remark Glass, a woman-owned glassblowing studio in Philadelphia where beautiful items are made from recycled bottles and jars. Winners also receive cash prizes, gift cards, or other offerings.

The workshop is a full-day event held at Upper Dublin High School where classes are held in lighting, storytelling, production, and this year, a section by a past winner and current professional filmmaker called ‘5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was in High School.’ This is a favorite part of the program – being able to bring back someone who made a film for the festival in high school, who went on to work in film.  This person comes back to speak to students, whether at the workshop, at awards night, or just to visit their old classroom and teacher mentor!

Please join us for the 2024 Greenfield Youth Film Festival. This year’s festival will be held on April 24 at 7pm.  There will be a red-carpet, live band, and many great films shown at Upper Dublin High School in Ft. Washington, PA. Visit for tickets – use code GYFFVIP.   You can also watch previous years’ winners (and all submissions), workshops, and interviews with the student filmmakers. 


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