March 2018

The Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission announced the finalists for the 23rd Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival’s Student Showcase of Films. Winners will be revealed during the red-carpet awards show on April 6th at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Legendary actor, Burt Reynolds will personally present the Burt Reynolds’ scholarship and TV star/rap icon, Vanilla Ice, will bestow the Music Video Award. Both are to be featured among other SURPRISE celebrity presenters announced closer to show time. The live show and broadcast is hosted by actor, entertainer and star of CBS Blue Bloods and PBS South Florida’s On the Town in The Palm Beaches, Frank Licari!


Florida colleges and universities with film, television and digital media programs have been invited to exhibit in the lobby of the theatre. Representatives from Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Lynn UniversityNew York Film Academy Miami, Palm Beach Atlantic University and Palm Beach State College will be on hand to answer questions and handout materials. Students will have the opportunity before and after the show to talk with and get information on these programs.

Michelle Hillery, Palm Beach County’s Deputy Film Commissioner and Executive Producer of the Student Showcase of Films stated, “This year the Student Showcase of Films received well over 600 student submissions representing 80 different schools across Florida. Our judging panel of 42 industry professionals had a tough assignment choosing the finalists, and at the live awards show the audience will experience firsthand the outstanding level of talent found in Florida schools!”

The placements of the winners for the Feature/Short category, as well as the Burt Reynolds and Sara Fuller scholarship winners, will be announced at the 23rd Annual Red Carpet Awards Show.

The finalists in ALPHABETCIAL order are:

Burt Reynolds & Sara Fuller Scholarship Finalists
MLE DeJaco, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts (West Palm Beach)
Marianna Kaimakloitis, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts (West Palm Beach)
Abby Longhofer, G-Star School of the Arts (Palm Springs)
Brianna Seaberg, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts (West Palm Beach)

High School Feature/Short Finalists
Bronza Fox, Key West High School (Key West), Paradise
Matthew Manyak, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (Jacksonville), After the Fall
Frankie McCarty-Brown, Howard W. Blake High School (Tampa), The Road Not Taken

College Feature/Short Finalists
Janeen Talbott, Florida State University (Tallahassee), Sight
Gabriel A. Valbuena, Florida State University (Tallahassee), If
George Wehmeyer, Miami Dade College (Miami), To the Top and Beyond: The Antrel Rolle Story

The Suzanne L. Niedland Documentary Finalists
Maddie Glas, Howard W. Blake High School (Tampa), Someday
David Merrill, Palm Beach Atlantic University (West Palm Beach), One Last Ride: A PBA Lacrosse Story
Molly Smith, Montverde Academy (Monte Verde/Orlando), Finding Home

Animation Finalists 
Ashley Anderson and Jacob Mann, Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota), Extinguished
Esteban Bravo and Beth David, Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota), In a Heartbeat
James Just, Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota), Tom in Couchland

Commercial/PSA Finalists
Alexander Luttin, G-Star School of the Arts (Palm Springs), It Can Wait
David Merrill, Palm Beach Atlantic University (West Palm Beach), Life of the Party - IBC Root Beer
Angel Soto, Palm Beach Atlantic University (West Palm Beach), A Boy’s Wish

Environmental Awareness PSA Finalists
Sean Duong, West Orange High School (Winter Garden), Polluting Idiot
Olivia Lowery, Palm Beach Gardens High School (Palm Beach Gardens), Go Green
Nikolay N. Onishchuk, Manatee High School (Bradenton), Save the Fish

Mental Health Awareness PSA Finalists
Tyler Grow, G-Star School of the Arts (Palm Springs), Your Song Isn't Over
Naskyya Hester, John I. Leonard High School (Greenacres), Depression
Dxavior Smith, Arthur & Polly May Conservatory of the Arts (Miami), Suicide Prevention

Music Video Finalists
Matthew Baquero, University of Florida (Gainesville), Till They're Back
Matthew Manyak, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (Jacksonville), Gas Cap - "Destiny"
Josh Meredith, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts (Palm Springs), I Heard You Like White Boys

Screenwriting Finalists
Farrell Erickson, Florida State University (Tallahassee), Heaven and Hell
Anna Mott and Divya Navani, Key West High School (Key West), Paradise
Molly Smith, Montverde Academy (Monte Verde/Orlando), Words to Speak, Stories to Tell

Poster Design Award Winner
Valentina Messina, Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale), 2019 Poster Design

The red-carpet awards show will take place at the Keith C. & Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University on April 6, 2018, pre-show festivities beginning at 9:30am and SHOWTIME at 10:30am. The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend. Please RSVP by March 31st by emailing ccobb@pbfilm.com or calling 561.233.1000.

About the Palm Beach International Films Festival’s Student Showcase of Films

Student submissions are judged by industry professionals with finalists to be presented with cash awards and prizes during the red-carpet awards show at the Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Every year, the SSOF awards show attracts more than 800 students and their families, along with celebrity presenters, industry pros, media, state and county dignitaries, performers and more. Celebrity presenters have included Burt Reynolds, Vanilla Ice, Cheri Oteri, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Bruce Campbell, Clint Howard, Linda Blair and many more! The SSOF is funded by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners through the Department of Housing & Economic Sustainability. Major sponsors include the Palm Beach International Film Festival, Lynn University and the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission. Category sponsors include Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. (Environmental PSA Award), Film Florida (Sara Fuller Scholarship), Michael Chasin (Nellie & Fred Chasin Screenwriting Award) and the Information Television Network (“Know Difference” Mental Health Awareness PSA Award).

For more information, please visit www.pbfilm.com/student-showcase.

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