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Students honored for illuminating big issues on big screen, take home $3,500 in prizes

Free film screenings/discussions with winners to be held in Chatham, N.Y. and Great Barrington, Mass.

Editor’s Note: The following article is derived from officially released information, published with few or no editorial changes.The Greylock Glass occasionally provides our readers with such content if the information is factual in nature, and requires little to no interpretation or analysis, often when original reportage would provide little to no additional relevant information.

SHEFFIELD, Mass.—Thepartners behind theBridging Divides, Healing Communities Youth Film Challengetoday announced three winningshortfilms highlighting divisions and inequities in society, and howyoung people are tackling these challenges in their families, schools and communities.

YonahSadeh,a student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock from Falls Village, Conn.,receivedfirst place and $2,000 forhis film onaffordable housing, “In Our Backyard”;TommyTranfaglia,a student at Endicott College from Lenox, Mass.,was awarded the $1,000 second place prize for hisfilm on learningand attention disabilities, “Misunderstood”; andDanny Wilkinson, a student at Mount Everett Regional HighSchool from Sheffield, Mass.,earned $500 and third place forhis film aboutbody image and self-esteem, “Self image.”The challenge was led bytheBerkshire Film and Media CollaborativeandtheCivic Life Project, with funding from Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Honorable mentions went to:RachaelBentz, of Arts in Recovery for Youth from Pittsfield, Mass., for “The Story of Indigo Phoenix”; Anna Coon, a student at the University of Miami from Sharon, Conn., for “Hidden Insecurities”;Samantha Hoffman, a student at Chatham High School from East Chatham, N.Y., for “He/She/They”; and Madison Long, a student at HousatonicValley Regional High School from Canaan, Conn., for “Under Pressure.”

Thewinning filmsandaselection ofothersubmissionswill be screened at two local venues, to befollowed by short paneldiscussionswith the audience.Thesefreeeventswill be held at TheCrandellTheatre in Chatham, N.Y.,on Saturday, Dec.4, at 11 a.m.(tickets atwww.crandelltheatre.org/tickets)andtheDaniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington, Mass.,onSunday, Dec.12at 3 p.m. (www.simons-rock.edu/events).Seating islimitedand RSVP is required. All attendees must show proof of vaccination and wear masks.

Serving as judges for the challenge wereJayne Atkinson(Berkshire County), an award-winning actor known primarily for her workin such hit television series as“24,”“House of Cards”and“Madam Secretary”;GretchenRennellCourt(BerkshireCounty), a casting directorforfilms such as“Flashdance,”“Children of a Lesser God”and“The Horse Whisperer”;MirissaNeff(Columbia County), a documentary filmmaker who has worked as a producer and correspondent for PBS and public radio programs;DamonOsora(Litchfield County), chair of the English Department and film teacher at Housatonic Valley Regional High Schoolin Falls Village, Conn.; andMatthew Penn(Berkshire County), an award-winningdirector of more than 150 primetime television dramas including“House,”“The Sopranos,”“NYPD Blue”and“Law & Order.” 

The Youth Film Challenge was open toresidentsages 14 to 24who live or go to school inBerkshire County, Mass., Columbia and northeastDutchesscounties, N.Y., and northwest Litchfield County, Conn.

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