The 2018 Pens to Lens Gala was on Saturday, and young filmmakers and screenwriters —plus their families and all of the grown-ups who help make this event happen — hit the red carpet before a day-long showcase of films. Students from all over East Central Illinois submit short screenplays, then several are chosen to go into production, with the assistance of Champaign Movie Makers. Those movies are screened at the Virginia Theatre, then winners are chosen from the various age categories. It's a pretty amazing annual event, and it's encouraging to see the nurturing of artistic talents in our youth, especially when there seems to be less and less time and money dedicated to the arts in schools. 

The list of winners is below; you can watch their films here

Student Screenwriting Competition Selections

  • ADVENTURE AROUND THE WORLD by Rose Bailey, Noah Hettinger, and James Graham, directed by John Isberg
  • DUSTY RUSTY by Caroline Paluska, directed by Emily Polk
  • GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE KNIGHT by Ozella Green, directed by Thomas Nicol
  • I’M NOT EVIL by Quinn Fisher, directed by Andrew Nygard
  • THE CONTEST by Rayane Marzouqi, directed by Andrew Stengele
  • THE DISCOVERY OF THE JACKABOW by Kallie Lancaster, Lia Sheets, and Kadince Wells, directed by Andrew Stengele
  • THE MONSTER WHO ATE THE BOY by Audrey Moser, Jaydin Anderson, Lilly Jurkowski and Garrett Fulfer, directed by Brian Hagy
  • TOMATOES by Fallon McFarland, directed by Jarrod Finn and Issac Musgrave
  • WATER YOU SAD ABOUT? by Jayton Reynolds, directed by AJ Christensen
  • WHY COWS CAN’T HAVE BIRTHDAYS by Brynlee Vigil and Sadie Polonus, directed by Michael Bach
  • A NORMAL DAY by Sariah Rose Deal, directed by Danil Formenov
  • A STAR by Max Libman, directed by Jon Lecouris
  • CORNERED by John Nicol, directed by Charlie Kessler
  • FOURTH WALL by Estephany Arroyo, directed by Hugh Sullivan
  • NEO-SCUM by Parker Evans, directed by Thomas Polk
  • STUCK by Gwen Kaiser, directed by Andrew Gleason and Thomas Nicol
  • THE DEFENSE by Dema Evans, directed by Jon Lecouris
  • THE ONE by Sydney Hoel, directed by Rebecca Nicol
  • THE RED SCARF by Ariana Mizan, directed by Jennifer Heaton

Student Filmmaking Competition Selections

  • OBVIOUSLY OBLIVIOUS, directed by Iona Hopping
  • TRUE LOVE, directed by Tara Armas
  • GHOST ON THE RUN, directed by Sofie Skottene
  • ENGAGING JASON, directed by Madeline DeCoste (Honorable Mention)

Here are some red carpet shots from Saturday:

Photos by Kwamé Thomas