Rochester Teen Film Festival

Rochester Teen Film Festival 

  August, 2024 
at the Little Theatre 

Film screening, awards ceremony, and reception

WXXI Public Media and the Little Theatre are proud to sponsor the Rochester Teen Film Festival, a collaborative, juried media competition for youth (13-18 years old) in the Greater Rochester region and beyond. The screening and awards ceremony will be held on in August of 2024 at the Little Theatre. This event will feature general admission (unassigned) seating, and concessions will be open for sale (eating in the lobby and auditorium). 

Entry Requirements

WXXI Public Media and the Little Theatre are proud to announce and invite entries for the Rochester Teen Film Festival, a collaborative, juried media competition for youth in the Greater Rochester region and beyond. 

Film Submissions Guidelines: 

  • Films and videos are created by high school teens (ages 13-18 years old)
  • All genres are welcome
  • Videos must be appropriate for school-based audiences
  • Videos cannot exceed 10 minutes

Purpose: The purpose of the festival is to honor the work of urban, suburban, and rural teen filmmakers and give young people an authentic opportunity to participate in a real film festival. 

Awards & Judging: All submissions are judged by a jury and finalists have been selected to have their films shown at the Little Theatre. The young filmmakers selected as part of this year’s festival will also have a chance to earn one of the following four awards, each of which comes with a cash prize:

The Philip Seymour Hoffman Award honors the life and legacy of the late Academy Award-winning actor and Fairport, New York native. The annual award is given to the teen whose film is chosen by the judges as “Best of Fest.” The award was established in association with the Hoffman family with funds raised during The Little Theatre’s Philip Seymour Hoffman Tribute Film Series.

Alex Ketchek Award for Best Animated Film is presented by the Ketchek family and Animatus Studio. Alex Ketchek, a 2010 Rochester Teen Film Festival finalist, tragically passed away in 2013.  

The Jack Garner Award for Best Director is a new annual award in the memory of long-time RTFF jury member and much beloved and spirited national film critic. It is given through the support of Bonnie Garner and the Garner family.

The Marilyn O’Connor Award
is presented to a film that addresses a social issue through the lens of compassion, equity and social justice. Marilyn O’Connor has never crossed a picket line. She’s been fighting for equality and justice as a youth, a parent, a public defender and Family Court Judge. She was recognized for mentoring young women in the practice of law as the recipient of the NYS Women’s Bar Association’s Betty Weinberg Ellerin’s Mentoring Award and was one of the founders of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys, an organization that supports and encourages women in the legal community.

Dr. Brian Bailey & Heather Layton provide funding for the Jack Garner Award for Best Director and the Marilyn O’Connor Award


TRUMPET PRACTICE, Eli Jeffrey from Penfield High School, Penfield, NY
Received the Phillip Seymour Hoffman Best of Festival Award

HOMELESSNESS IN ROCHESTER, Michelle Meletiche from East Upper School (RCSD), Rochester, NY
Received the Marilyn O'Connor Awared for Social Justice

65 MILLION YEARS LATER, Jack Saxon & Harrison Saxon from Animatus Studio, Rochester, NY
Received the Alex Ketchek Award for Best Animated Film

THE HUNT, Sam Owens from Webster Schroeder High School, Webster, NY
Received the Jack Garner Award for Best Director

Cúinas, Mischa McCarthy from SONAR, Kerry, Ireland
Received the Best Acting Award

NURSING SHORTAGE IN AMERICA, Alejandra Sanchez Colon & Sakariya (Zack) Nur from Edison Career & Technology High School (RCSD), Rochester, NY
Received The Best Public Awareness Film Award

I’M NOT WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE, Clyde Sheridan from High School of Art & Design, Astoria, NY
Received the Best Cinematography Award

FLY OR DIE, Kyshawn White from Greece Arcadia High School, Greece, NY
Received the Best Editing & Visual Effects Award


Support Resources
Educators: Use these resources (lesson plans, video, tip sheets) from our public media partners to support students/teens working on their Rochester Teen Film Festival submissions.
Video/Audio Production Tips (from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs)

The Rochester Teen Film Festival and showcase event is made possible with support from:

Past Festival Finalists

Preview past films submitted to the Rochester Teen Film Festival:  

2022 Award Winners 

2021 Festival Video Playlist | 2020 Best of Fest 2011-2019 | 2019 Festival Video Playlist | 2018 Festival Video Playlist | 2017 Festival Video Playlist | 2016 Festival Video Playlist | 2015 Festival Video Playlist | 2014 Festival Video Playlist | 2013 Festival Video Playlist | 2012 Festival Video Playlist | 2011 Festival Video Playlist

Rochester Teen Film Festival Presents a Free Animation Workshop

Free Teen Animation Workshop

THE WORKSHOP IS NOW CLOSED. All spaces are full

Where Animatus Studio, 34 Winthrop St, Rochester, NY 14607

When: August 3, 2023 1-3pm

Who: Open to local teens, 13-18 year olds with an interest in animation (space is limited) 

Details for this 2 hour basic animation class include for each student:

1. A tour of Animatus Studio & samples of the animation work.

2. Explain how animation works by making a flipbook & zoetrope strip.

3. Hands-on animation. Frame by frame shooting of paper cutouts under the animation stand using a digital camera & DragonFrame professional stop motion software.
4. Examples of the process of creating professional 2D cartoon animation with hand drawn & digital processes, including Toon Boom & After Effects software in use.

REGISTER Registration is now closed

Animatus Studio

This workshop is offered through Animatus Studio

The Animation Workshop event is made possible with support from: