Rochester Teen Film Festival

Rochester Teen Film Festival 

SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, August 3, 2023 
at the Little Theatre 

Film screening, awards ceremony, and reception

Entries due by June 30, 2023


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 Rochester region. The screening and awards ceremony will be held on August 3, 2023 at the Little Theatre.



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 Rochester region. 

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

Submission Form

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