Cayuga, Auburn Public Theater Partner for Inaugural Film Festival

Cayuga Community College is partnering with the Auburn Public Theater for a new annual film festival celebrating the efforts of young filmmakers across New York State.

Open to high school students, college students and emerging filmmakers, the Cayuga Film Festival will celebrate the talents of young directors as they submit their original work in multiple genres. The festival may be virtual or partially in-person depending on COVID-19 health guidelines, and is scheduled for November 1, 2021.

The festival will accept short narrative films, animated films and documentaries. In recognition of the Auburn area’s historic contributions, organizers also established a special category for documentaries addressing human rights issues.

“We’re really excited to offer filmmakers in New York State the opportunity to showcase their work at the festival. As a filmmaker, being able to watch a project that I’ve spent months planning and creating with an audience, and hearing the reaction to it is a really surreal and exciting experience,” said Festival Director Juliette Zygarowicz. “I would invite any filmmaker who hasn’t screened their work to an audience to consider submitting.”

Opening the festival to students and directors younger than 30 years of age offers those budding filmmakers a chance for feedback and encouragement as they consider careers in the film industry, said Cayuga Professor and Festival Executive Director Steve Keeler.

“As an educational institution, it’s a great way for Cayuga and our School of Media and the Arts to support students and emerging filmmakers. There aren’t many local opportunities for students to feature their films in a competitive and encouraging environment, and at the same time receive feedback from professionals. Our festival provides those opportunities across several film genres,” said Keeler.

The festival will recognize filmmakers in three categories: high school students, college students of any age, and emerging filmmakers, defined as younger than 30 years of age.

In each category, awards will be given for the best narrative, short animation, and short and long documentary (defined as less than 10 minutes and between 10 and 30 minutes, respectively). Short narrative films must be less than 15 minutes, and short animation films must be less than five minutes. Filmmakers can submit more than one film.

Film submissions are due by June 1, and can be submitted virtually at Official selections for the festival will be announced on October 1. Films must be completed in New York, and must have been made between March 2020 and June 1, 2021.

For more information or questions about the festival, visit Details regarding whether the festival will be virtual or partially in-person will be posted on the website and on the festival’s social media pages.