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Alexia Ross - Director of You Are What You Wear, Best Documentary Winner - Photo Credit_ Dale Clarke
John Tuohy with Family and Friends - Photo Credit_ Dale Clarke of Peacemaker Photography

About Big Dreams Youth Film Festival


Big Dreams Youth Film Festival (formerly Rahway Film Festival Junior), a Big Dreams and Silver Screens production, is a nonprofit film festival first founded in 2016 and is dedicated to showcasing the filmmaking talents of New Jersey students in Grades 1 through 12


The filmmakers compete for the awards Best Animation, Best Narrative, Best Documentary, and Best Film of the Festival.  The category winners receive a trophy.  The winner of the Best Film of the Festival award will receive a special screening of their film at our main event, the Westfield International Film Festival.

To learn more about our parent organization, Big Dreams & Silver Screens, please visit the BDSS page.

To learn more about our first two years as Big Dreams Youth Film Festival, please visit our former website



"School Friends"

Directed by Madeline Manger (9)

Grade 3 from Westfield


​"In Plain Sight: A Hidden Child of the Holocaust"

Directed by Carli Platt (13)

Grade 7 from Millburn


"Ball Hog" 

Directed by Michelle Tang (13)

Grade 8 from Metuchen



Directed by Shannon Miller (16)

Grade 11 from Manalapan 


"Dali Schonfelder: The Nalu Story"

Directed by Madison Rambowski (16)

Grade 11 from Hardyston



Directed by Alice Almiron (17)

Grade 12 from Passaic 


"You Are Not Alone"

Directed by Zach Marcus (12) & Jordan Mirrione (12)

Grade 6 from Westfield  



Directed by Alice Almiron (17)

Grade 12 from Passaic 


(Listed in Order of Filmmaker's Grade)


"School Friends"

Narrative |  Runtime: 06:14

Director: Madeline Manger (9)

Grade: Grade 3 from Westfield

School: Franklin Elementary School

Synopsis: The film is about three best friends who get into a fight, get into trouble, and ultimately makeup.

"You Are Not Alone"

Narrative |  Runtime: 06:30

Directors: Zach Marcus (12),

Director/Writer: Jordan Mirrione (12)

Producer: Kayla Fiore (12)

Grade: Grade 6 from Westfield & Scotch Plains

School: Edison Intermediate School & Terrill Middle School

Synopsis: This movie is about a boy whose house is broken into while he is home alone.

"In Plain Sight: A Hidden Child of the Holocaust"

Documentary |  Runtime: 13:11

Director: Carli Platt (13)

Grade: Grade 7 from Millburn

School: Millburn Middle School

Synopsis: Not every holocaust victim was sent to a concentration camp. Some didn't lose their lives, but instead lost everything that was important to them: their family, their religious identity, their childhood, and their way of life. This Documentary Short profiles Wilhelmina De Kadt, now Willie Juhlin, whose family lived in The Netherlands during World War II. Willie and her brother avoided being sent to a concentration camp, through the kindness of others and a bit of luck. She survived by hiding in plain sight with a Catholic family, and was eventually reunited with her only surviving adult family member, who brought her to America to start a new life.

"Ball Hog"

Narrative |  Runtime: 01:56

Director: Michelle Tang (13)

Grade: Grade 8 from Metuchen

School: Edgar Middle School

Synopsis: A little girl unintentionally kicks her ball into a forest. As she goes to retrieve her ball, a homeless boy attempts to steal it.


Narrative |  Runtime: 06:57

Director: Rachel Solomon (15)

Grade: Grade 9 from Millburn

School: Millburn High School

Synopsis: Hannah and Lauren are two best friends in high school in the 80's. Everything is happy and brightly colored until Lauren realizes that they are living in a sitcom. Hannah and Lauren try to escape the sitcom and get to the real world.


Documentary |  Runtime: 03:00

Director: Phoebe Yung (15)

Grade: Grade 10 from Denville

School: Morris County School of Technology

Synopsis: A short documentary showing how the Parkland shooting affected two students at the Morris County School of Technology, and the actions that they took for the national school walkout.

"Cellular Life"

Animation |  Runtime: 04:01

Director: Ethan R. Halperin (16)

Grade: Grade 10 from Maplewood

School: Columbia High School

Synopsis: A cellphone yearns to experience nature.

"Company Call"

Documentary |  Runtime: 11:50

Directors: Lauren Berard (16), Alexia Ross (16)

Grade: Grade 10 from Fanwod & Cranford

School: UCVTS-Academy for Performing Arts

Synopsis: A short film following the lives of six young performing arts students.


Narrative |  Runtime: 05:54

Director: Austin Segal (16)

Grade: Grade 10 from Basking Ridge

School: Ridge High School

Synopsis: After losing her hearing, Lucy struggles to figure out how music fits into her silent life.


Narrative |  Runtime: 00:45

Director: Yazemin Yilmaz

Grade: Grade 10 from Middletown

School: Middletown High School North

Synopsis: Do not try to run or escape student loans will always catch up to you!

"Thank You For Carrying Me"

Narrative |  Runtime: 02:31

Director: Sophie Wayner (16)

Grade: Grade 10 from Westfield

School: Westfield High School

Synopsis: This film follows a girl who explains her life changing relationship with her horse that has helped her through the good and bad times in life.

"The Sibling War"

Narrative |  Runtime: 03:17

Director: Jackie Thornton (16)

Grade: Grade 10 from Highlands

School: Henry Hudson Regional School

Synopsis: A brother and sister get into a struggle for power as they pull a series of pranks on each other.

"Working Title"

Narrative |  Runtime: 08:59

Director: Jake Tannenbaum (15)

Grade: Grade 10 from Westfield 

School: Westfield High School

Synopsis: Follow young filmmakers Clark Foreman and Zach Cohen as they embark on a zany adventure to submit a film into the prestigious Silverart Studios™ teen film festival. Will they be able write, film, edit, and enter this film in a matter of 3 days? Enjoy the hijinx that ensue.

"You Deserve a Brighter Tomorrow"

Narrative |  Runtime: 01:00

Directors: Austin Segal (16), Mary Shea (16), Bella Trucco (16)

Grade: Grade 10/11 from Basking Ridge

School: Ridge High School

Synopsis: This suicide prevention PSA is meant to remind those considering suicide that every single human on earth deserves a brighter tomorrow.

"Dali Schonfelder: The Nalu Story"

Documentary |  Runtime: 07:08

Director: Madison Rambowski (16)

Grade: Grade 11 from Hardyston

School: Sussex County Technical School

Synopsis: Student made documentary by 16 year old, Madison Rambowski, on the seventeen year old, creator and owner of the clothing brand "Nalu", a brand dedicated to donating school uniforms to children in India. The documentary explores the highs and lows of starting a company at age twelve.


Narrative |  Runtime: 02:46

Director: Garret Ballinger (17)

Grade: Grade 11 from Columbus

School: Northern Burlington High School

Synopsis: A twist on the teen genre, the film concerns a group of students in detention who, in an act of breaking the fourth wall, are able to hear the narrator of the film. The narrator begins revealing the thoughts of the characters, as a typical film narrator would, yet the thoughts are mostly personal or humiliating to the characters.

"Double C"

Narrative |  Runtime: 06:22

Director: Alexandra Lehotsky (16)

Grade: Grade 11 from Red Bank

School: Middletown High School North

Synopsis: Chesney Smith isn't your typical 5th grade girl...or your typical girl. She'd rather be playing basketball than go to some stupid dance. Her sister, Chloe Smith, however, thinks otherwise. A witty coming of age tale, Double C exposes the pressures faced by young girls.

"Dreaming About You"

Narrative |  Runtime: 01:41

Director: Gia Caruso (17)

Producer: Alexandra Weitzman (16)

Grade: Grade 11 from Howell

School: Communications High School

Synopsis: A young girl finds herself constantly thinking about one of her close friends.

"Electric Love"

Narrative |  Runtime: 03:44

Directors: Alexandra Weitzman (16), Emily McNeil (17)

Grade: Grade 11 from Freehold 

School: Communications High School

Synopsis: Dylan can't stop thinking about his crush, but will he gather enough courage to talk to her?


Animation |  Runtime: 03:24

Director: Brittany Hope (17)

Grade: Grade 11 from Columbus 

School: Northern Burlington High School

Synopsis: Inspired by classic video games. Marcus must survive a day in highschool. But a new challenge faces him. Can he help his teacher or fail the year. It is all in your hands the player.

"Nightmare at Musical High"

Narrative |  Runtime: 04:00

Director: Kerry Harper (16)

Grade: Grade 11 from Atlantic Highlands

School: Henry Hudson Regional High School

Synopsis: A girl is trapped in an endless dream as she tries to escape her school through the use of song.


Animation |  Runtime: 04:48

Director: Shannon Miller (16)

Grade: Grade 11 from Manalapan 

School: Howell High School

Synopsis: An anthropomorphic piece of fabric follows its dreams to become a dress.


Narrative |  Runtime: 05:07

Co-Director/Writer: Sarah Laide (16),

Co-Director/Producer: Mikayla Pinto (16)

Producer/Editor: Emma Wolynez (16)

Grade: Grade 11 from Westfield

School: Westfield High School

Synopsis: A girl who's life drastically changes when she meets her first love.

"The Ones Who Were Left Behind"

Documentary |  Runtime: 05:32

Director: Leah Ginion (17)

Grade: Grade 11 from Medford

School: Shawnee High School

Synopsis: A family dealing with the aftermath of losing a beloved son and brother to suicide.

"You Are Enough PSA"

Narrative |  Runtime: 01:30

Director: Summer Ward (16)

Grade: Grade 11 from Oceanport

School: Communications High School

Synopsis: A PSA about self-esteem in girls.

"Dalton vs. Malcolm: The Battle For Glory"

Narrative |  Runtime: 04:18

Director/Writer/Producer: Thomas Hughes (18)

Writer/Producer: Dane Clarke II (17)

Writer/Producer: Juaquin Goodbar (18)

Grade: Grade 12 from West Orange

School: West Orange High School

Synopsis: Dalton Hughes (Rajeev Persad) and Malcolm Smith (Tyrone Brooks) are your normal high school students. Conflict arises when Dalton steals a valuable possession of Malcolm, so a documentary crew follows the two and their peers as the most ridiculous school fight of the century is about to begin.

"Doors to the New Vocabulary"

Narrative |  Runtime: 04:51

Director: Carly Rose Drabeck (18)

Grade: Grade 12 from Oceanport 

School: Communications High School

Synopsis: 4 words. 4 meanings. 4 places.


Narrative |  Runtime: 05:30

Director: Alice Almiron (17)

Grade: Grade 12 from Passaic 

School: Passaic High School

Synopsis: A boy remembers when they took his mother away.


Narrative |  Runtime: 04:48

Director: Lauren Plattman (18)

Grade: Grade 12 from Berkeley Heights

School: Governor Livingston High School

Synopsis: A deeper look into the lives of 21st century teens through the lens of social media.


Narrative |  Runtime: 04:00

Director: Hunter Clark (18)

Grade: Grade 12 from Point Pleasant Beach

School: Point Pleasant Beach High School

Synopsis: I was watching "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", and I thought, what if Ferris Bueller wasn't the confident out going guy that he was? What if Ferris Bueller was a looser? Asking the girl out is hard enough, but what happens when your thrown into that sedation unexpectedly?

"Subconscious Paranoia"

Narrative |  Runtime: 01:58

Directors: Julia Picozzi, Krista Reilly 

Grade: Grade 12 from Middletown

School: Middletown High School North

Synopsis: Reality does not seem as is when you look into your own eyes. Are they her own or those of a strange girl?

"The Dance"

Narrative |  Runtime: 09:56

Director: Eitan Miller (17)

Grade: Grade 12 from Chatham 

School: Chatham High School

Synopsis: Adam is ready for the perfect school dance with his date Abby, but he's forgotten one important thing...

"The Tiny Visit"

Animation |  Runtime: 03:21

Director: Dylan Jones, Adina Cook, Jelani Johnson, Justin Cotton, Brianna Miller (Tyson Animation Class)

Grade: Grade 12 from East Orange 

School: Cicely Tyson High School

Synopsis: A scared little discovers friendship and love with some magical creatures in the night and overcomes his fears.


Narrative |  Runtime: 03:24

Director: Keegan Tindall (17)

Grade: Grade 12 from Columbus 

School: Northern Burlington High School

Synopsis: A time traveling watch leads a teenager on a day for the ages.

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