Some of New Jersey’s top student filmmakers are featured on a New Jersey School Boards Association’s film/video showcase highlighting their work.

The film/video showcase includes 17 student-produced short films/videos from 17 school districts that were included in the Garden State Film Festival in 2021, which is one of the largest and most prestigious film festivals in the United States.

The NJSBA in conjunction with the Garden State Film Festival and the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission is a proud sponsor of the festival’s student category titled “New Jersey Homegrown Documentary Short.” The category was created in 2018 to encourage young student filmmakers’ creativity while instilling a sense of pride in their hometown

Films featured in the film/video showcase – all less than seven minutes long – highlight topics such as the pandemic, resilience and mental health. The showcase includes short documentaries, public service announcements, narratives and music videos. It includes:

  • At the Core – The Heart of Appel Farm,the grand prize-winning film in the 2021 homegrown documentary category. It was produced and directed by students Troy Nguyen and Chloe Pecheux at Washington Township High School in Gloucester County, where Kristen Dirato is the TV broadcast and video production teacher.
  • Springfield N.J., which was the 2021 first runner-up in the homegrown documentary category. It was produced and directed by Jorge Rivera, Frank Sarracino and Ryan Sickinger of the Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield Township, Union County, where the TV/film teacher is Greg Coward.
  • Flower Power,which was the 2021 second runner-up in the homegrown documentary category. It was produced and directed by students Marlayna O’Brien, Henry Ruiz, Jennifer Ruiz-Gonzalez and Sammy Horan at the East Brunswick Technical High School in Middlesex County, where Louis Libitz is the TV/film teacher.

The Garden State Film Festival takes place March 23-27, 2022, in Asbury Park and consists of a gala ceremony and reception and ends with a black-tie preferred awards banquet where the “best” in various categories of films and celebrity honorees are recognized.

The deadline for student entries is Jan. 8, 2022. For more information, go to If you enter “NJHometown” when submitting your entry in the student category, the fee will be waived.

Don’t forget to view the film/video showcase.