CUYAHOGA FALLS — Young people can get an audience, and maybe a little bit of money and recognition as well, by entering their best short video in a newly created competition that is looking for their work.

Students throughout the region in grades 4 through 12 are encouraged to participate in the first Jawbone Film Festival on April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the downtown pavilion, 2085 Front St. The event will occur the same day as the All City Art Walk.

Ashlynn Schindler, a science teacher at Cuyahoga Falls High School, said she and Katelyn Eriksen, an English teacher at the high school, wrote a GAR Foundation grant to pay for setting up a video announcement program at the high school. Last school year, the grant money was used by the high school to host a broadcast journalism workshop open to any district in Northeast Ohio. Barberton, Kenston, and Springfield school districts joined with Cuyahoga Falls in creating video announcement programs in their districts.

"During this workshop, the four founding districts discussed the idea of a local student film festival to showcase the work being done by our students," said Schindler. "This is our third and final year of GAR funding and we wanted to use it to establish an annual recognition of student talent in Ohio …Through the support of local foundations and institutions, Jawbone is now a reality and we are ecstatic to see what our brilliant students have in store."

Funding for the event is coming from a GAR Foundation grant. The current sponsors of the event are: the GAR Foundation, ArtsNow, Western Reserve Hospital, Collide: Cuyahoga Falls, the city of Cuyahoga Falls, and Audio Technica.

Young people are invited to create and enter a short film for the event. Schindler said there is a time limit on the films and there are multiple categories in which students can submit entries. 

The six categories are: Documentary (15 minute time limit on entries), Broadcast News Segment (10 minutes), Cinematic (five minutes), Promotional/ Marketing (three minutes), Animation (three minutes), Junior submissions for grades 4 through 8 (five minutes) and Your City Through Another Lens (five minutes).

Besides the junior category, the contest is open to students in grades 9 through 12 who attend schools in Northeast Ohio, Schindler said.

With the exception of the junior category, the winner of each category will receive a $250 scholarship and audio equipment donated by Audio Technica. The winner of the junior category will only receive the audio equipment.

Cuyahoga Falls Community Development Director Diana Colavecchio noted the top three films from each category will be shown during the festival on April 23. Awards will be given for each category that evening, too.

For the Your City Through Another Lens category, Colavecchio said, "We’re looking for a film that would highlight areas in our city that would be attractive to a production company, that would make them want to come and film a movie here."

Colavecchio also explained the origin of the event’s unique name: There is an "L-shaped section" of the Cuyahoga River that is known as the "Jawbone section."

She added event planners felt they needed a "catchy" and "cool name" for the festival, and noted "everybody loved" the "Jawbone" moniker.

"I hope as many students can be involved as possible," said Colavecchio. 

In addition to herself and Eriksen, Schindler noted that teachers Joe Vernacotola of Barberton City Schools and Ryan Novak of Kenston Local Schools, student Lance Grimsley from Barberton, local artists Matt Weiss and Molly Hartong of Collide, and community leaders Kathy Romito of Western Reserve Hospital and Colavecchio have all played major roles in organizing the event.

"We are always looking for more partners," said Schindler. "This is intended to be an annual event, so we hope the reach expands every year."

Entries due March 15; judges still needed

Students should visit to turn in their entries. Instructions for submitting entries can be found on the website. Submissions are due March 15. Schindler said the finalists for each category will be notified by April 6. During the month of April, finalists’ submissions will be screened in locations throughout the region.

"We will be making an effort to screen student films in the communities where the submitting students are from," said Schindler, who added they will be focused on showing the movies in libraries, theaters, and community centers.

Schindler said they are still seeking judges and want to have three judges for each of the seven categories. Anyone who is interested in serving as a judge should fill out a form at For more information, contact Schindler at

Sponsorships at different funding levels are still being sought for the event.

The sponsorship levels are: executive producer ($500); director ($200); producer ($100); screenwriter ($50); assistant director ($25); and property master ($10). Any organization that is interested in sponsorship should also contact Schindler.

For more information, visit

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421,, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.