Tribeca and NPS Announce Winners of "The America I Am" National Youth Film Competition at Red Carpet Premiere on Ellis Island

Young men and women pose for photograph.
Next Generation of Storytellers honored on opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival.

NPS photo

Drawn from hundreds of submissions by students from across the nation, five short films received a red carpet premiere on Ellis Island during the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival®. The winners of The America I Am national student film competition were announced in the Great Hall of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The competition, now in its second year, is a collaboration between National Park Service and the Tribeca Film Institute®. It was designed to foster craftsmanship in filmmaking and to cultivate the voices of the next generation of storytellers.

The five finalist selected in February received a $1000 production award, and each finalist was paired with a film industry mentor to help polish their submissions. After working to strengthen their films, the finalists traveled to New York for the April 19th screening of the final cut of their work at the Tribeca Film Festival® followed by a Red Carpet Premiere in the Great Hall on Ellis Island.

A jury comprised of representatives of the National Park Service and film industry insiders working with the Tribeca Film Institute® screened the final cut of the films at the Tribeca Film Festival®. Alex Romero, Acting Commissioner NPNH, Tom Ross, Superintendent MORR/EDIS, and Frank Barrows, Superintendent FOST, represented the NPS on the jury. “We were so impressed by these young filmmakers and their ability to craft deeply meaningful and moving films that reflect their American experience,” said Cherie Butler, Deputy Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. “Telling stories is at the heart of what we do in the National Park Service, and it’s why it’s important that we play a role in cultivating the voices of the next generation of storytellers. Partnering with the Tribeca Film Institute on the America I Am competition was a natural fit and the perfect way to reach young people and bring their creative vision to the screen. The remarkable quality and diversity of this year’s films are a testament to the value of our partnership with Tribeca”.

The top prize, the America I Am Storyteller’s Award, honoring craftsmanship in the interpretation of the American experience was awarded by the jury to the documentary New Frontier by 18-year-old Kyle Ransom of Provo, Utah. The Storyteller’s Award is a $10,000 prize made possible by the support of Eastern National, a non-profit cooperating association of the National Park Service.

Awards in other categories of the competition were:

Best Score Nothing But A Child – Robert Alexander, Kent Connecticut

Best Story – Life of a Lion – Anisah Abbas, Snellville, Georgia

Originality – One Defining Dot – Cameron Baer, Logan, Utah

Collaborative Spirit – Santa Woman – Nyah Sharrock & Tori Issacs, Poughkeepsie, New York

Best Creative Vision – New Frontier – Kyle Ransom, Provo, Utah

Following the premiere of the films on Wednesday, the finalists spent Thursday taking part in the Tribeca Film Institute’s Producers Academy, a full day of filmmaking master classes taught by industry professionals, and an opportunity to meet with other young filmmakers from across the country.

Last updated: January 10, 2018