Student Filmmaking Challenge

NapaLearns teams up with Napa Valley Film Festival to bring students the Napa County Student Film Competition

Mario Piombo, Director, Innovation
Published on March 16, 2017

Communication and creativity skills are a critical component to success in the 21st century. From higher education to participation in the workforce, the ability to craft and express original ideas and information is becoming more and more important on a daily basis. At NapaLearns, we believe that educating our students on the responsible use and mastery of digital communications tool is critical in today’s loud and often contentious media-driven society.

Napa County Office of Education and Napa Valley Film Festival join forces

In the Summer of 2016, NapaLearns saw an opportunity to engage a steering committee to launch a Napa County Student Film Competition in partnership with Napa County Office of Education. For several years, Napa County Office of Education had been eager to help provide opportunities to students who wanted to express their vision and stories through film.

This nascent idea quickly became a reality when the Napa Valley Film Festival not only agreed to sponsor the competition, but came to the table ready to feature winning students’ work at the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival. The Napa Valley Film Festival had previously hosted a competition and even inspired students like Kyle Andrews, the 2013 student winner to go on to attend film school.

“Until now, we’ve been encouraging students to enter the California Student Media Festival, and even had a winner from American Canyon two years ago”, said Dr. Barbara Nemko, Napa County Superintendent of Schools. “We would like to see more students participate in filmmaking, and having a film competition of our own here in Napa County, overseen by the Napa Valley Film Festival, seems like a great way to make this happen.”

Filmmaking workshops benefit students and teachers

The competition will not only provide an opportunity for student winners to showcase their films at the prestigious Napa Valley Film Festival, but will also give participating students a chance to expand their storytelling and technical skills at a series of free filmmaking workshops led by film industry professionals. NapaLearns will work closely with NVFF to design and implement educator workshops that align with NVFF’s student workshops. These workshops will be offered through NapaLearn’s Digital Innovator Program.

Scott Marsden, a digital media teacher at American Canyon High School providing a hands-on filmmaking workshop to Napa County Educators.

The NVFF Student Short Film Competition aligns perfectly with NapaLearns’ mission to support student success through new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning. We are excited to support educators in the design and implementation of projects that increase student participation in the competition.

A committee of educators, NVFF staff, and film industry professionals will review all competition submissions. Selected students films (about 12 short films in total), will be screened as a Student Film track at the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival. Winning names and film titles will also be included in the NVFF Commemorative Program Guide and on the festival’s website and social channels.

“We’re excited to launch this new competition as part of our broader Education and Outreach initiatives. We can’t wait to experience the stories our young people are telling and the creativity they’ll be bringing to this endeavor,” said Brenda Lhormer, NVFF Co-Founder and Director. “I look forward to seeing the winning students discuss their work with our audiences more than anything else. This is the core of our mission that is the most meaningful: encouraging young minds to stretch and grow in unexpected ways.”

A more detailed outline of the 2016 Education and Outreach Programs, as well as the new student film competition, can be found below, or by visiting the NVFF website at

Teachers and students can sign up for our Student Filmmaker Workshop here!