Finalists in JASNA Southwest’s fifth annual Young Filmmakers Contest were screened to a large group of enthusiasts at JASNA’s Annual General Meeting in Chicago on October 16. Attendees were also given the opportunity to cast a ballot for their own favorite among the short films for a people’s choice award—a first for the contest. View the highlight reel and finalist films on the JASNA Southwest YouTube channel.

This year’s first-place honoree, Meghan Hanet (above) of Abbotsford, British Columbia (29), won for “Lizzy’s Adventures in Online Dating,” which she wrote, produced, directed and starred in. Hanet’s film also garnered the people’s choice award. The comedy short deftly modernizes key plot points relating to Lizzy Bennet’s suitors in Pride and Prejudice.

Aspiring filmmaker Jordan Sartor-Francis (28) of New York City won second place for his artistic short film, “I Had Pride, I Had Prejudice,” in which a young man writes a love letter to his wife on their anniversary.

Third place went to Talitha Moniz McMillion (20), a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for her musical short film, “Strength and Vulnerability,” which incorporates Ariana Grande’s song “Thank U, Next” as sung by a variety of Austen heroines.

An honorable mention was earned by Zoë Hodge (22) of Rochester, New York, and a graduate student at Royal Holloway, University of London, for her heartfelt film “Persuasion,” which envisions Anne Elliot sharing her own letter with Capt. Wentworth. Hodge also came in second in the people’s choice voting.

All four contestants received one year’s free or extended membership in JASNA, with cash prizes awarded to the top three places. Even more valuable were the instructive and inspiring comments and critiques shared by the contest’s judges, who include internationally renowned filmmakers, critics, producers and authors.

This year’s stellar panel of judges were Amy Heckerling (Clueless), Gurinder Chadha (Bride & Prejudice), former Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr, author Sonali Dev, film and TV producer Laura Rister, and author and screenwriter Suzanne Allain. JASNA Southwest is grateful for their service and support, and particularly wishes to acknowledge YFC Chair Erika Kotite for her tireless work on the project.

A special YFC highlight reel was created for the screening event and is available on JASNA Southwest’s YouTube channel. It includes comments from some of the contestants, judges and organizers.

If you’re interested in joining the 2022 committee, reach out to Erika at Your help will be greatly appreciated and you’ll have fun in the process!

It’s also the perfect time to start spreading word among any teachers, students or young filmmakers age 30 or younger you know and encourage them to consider entering next year’s contest. Deadline is September 15, 2022.