Young Filmmakers Contest

JASNA Southwest launched an annual Young Filmmakers Contest in 2017, as part of hosting JASNA’s Annual General Meeting, which attracts hundreds of attendees from across the country. The contest is open annually to high school, college undergraduate and graduate students from throughout North America. 

Watch the 2020 contest trailer now!

(left) Attendees at our December 2018 meeting at Sony Pictures Studios saw the world premiere of Mrs. Bennet’s Plan, our 2018 winning entry.

We are thrilled to announce judges for our third annual Young Filmmakers Contest:
  • Ashley Clements of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, who is starring in and producing A Tale Told by an Idiot, a modern adaptation of Macbeth 
  • Laurie Viera Rigler, author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and its sequel, and creator of the Babelgum web series Sex and the Austen Girl
  • Thomas Rigler, Emmy-winning director, executive producer and showrunner 
  • Robin Swicord, director and screenwriter of The Jane Austen Book Club
  • Kenneth Turan, longtime (recently retired) film critic for the Los Angeles Times
  • Aydrea Walden, writer/producer/actor and creator of the Webby-nominated Black Girl in a Big Dress 


JASNA Southwest’s annual contest is underway, calling for original shorts of five minutes or less centered around Jane Austen. In addition to welcoming submissions from students, this year we invite all Jane Austen enthusiasts under the age of 30 to enter. Cash prizes and endless adulation await the top three. Deadline is October 30.
This year marks the anniversary of numerous important film adaptations of Austen’s novels—from the 25th anniversary of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility as well as Clueless to the 80th, 40th and 15th anniversaries respectively of the 1940, 1980 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice. It is the perfect opportunity for us to nurture the future legacy of Austen on screen.  
Help us spread the word by urging the young film enthusiasts you know to enter. Or try your own hand at writing/directing if you qualify. Contact with any questions. Download the Young Filmmakers Contest flyer and 2020 entry form.

Top row: Ashley Clements, Thomas Rigler, Kenneth Turan

Bottom row: Laurie Viera Rigler, Robin Swicord, Aydrea Walden


Ellyn Cardon, a senior undergraduate at Brigham Young University, won the 2018 Young Filmmaker Contest for her entry, Mrs. Bennet’s Plan. Both she and her mother, Dana — the inspiration for Mrs. Bennet in the short film — attended JASNA Southwest’s December 2018 meeting at Sony, where the winning entry had its world premiere. Cardon intends to pursue a master’s degree in ethnographic filmmaking, which she says is appropriate since this film is practically an ethnography of her life.

Ellyn Cardon addresses the crowd at Sony Pictures Studio.


Second-place winner Katiana Bennett (with her father, Andrew Bennett) and first-place winner Rivka Penarelli and her husband, Jason Penarelli, with inaugural contest chair Susie Wampler at the 2017 AGM in Huntington Beach

View the winners of our inaugural 2017 JASNA-Southwest Young Filmmakers Contest.

First place: An Accomplished Woman by Rivkah Penarelli

Second place (tie): I Am Jane Austen by Margaret Lu

Second place (tie): Timeless by Katiana Bennett

Third place: Novelist Jane Austen: Inside the Wardrobe by Elizabeth Hayes

First-place winner Rivka Penarelli had the opportunity to chat with filmmaker Whit Stillman at the 2017 AGM.