NEPA Scene Staff

Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival invites filmmakers to take Mystery Box Film Challenge

Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival invites filmmakers to take Mystery Box Film Challenge
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From a press release:

Established and aspiring local filmmakers alike are invited to sign up for the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival’s popular annual event, the Mystery Box Film Challenge.

Advance registration for the challenge begins today, Oct. 3, and must be made by Thursday, Oct. 31 by filling out the online form at

The launch party will be held Friday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. at Madame Jenny’s (126 Franklin Ave., Scranton). At the party, participating teams will receive a cardboard box filled with objects that must be incorporated into a short film. Each mystery box will contain an assortment of plot devices, ranging from character names to line of dialogue to a prop to a wardrobe item. In addition, filmmakers may be asked to include a specific shot type or feature a local element, among other challenges.

“The creativity of past filmmakers who have participated in the Mystery Box Film Challenge is inspiring and amazing,” said Desiree Zielinski, event organizer of the Mystery Box Film Challenge.

“To be able to see your film on the big screen in a packed theater is a huge thrill for filmmakers and audiences alike.”

Each team will then have until Jan. 31, 2020 to complete and submit their films. Entries for the Mystery Box Film Challenge will be screened during the fourth annual Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival in March of 2020. New this year will be special awards presented to outstanding submissions.

In addition to the challenge, filmmakers are also encouraged to submit all types of original films to the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival, slated to run March 27-29 at venues throughout Lackawanna County. The deadline for regular film submissions is Dec. 2 and can be made at Categories for submission include narrative shorts, narrative features, documentary shorts, documentary features, female directors/screenwriters, children’s animation, children’s shorts, and student films.

Established in 2016 by the Waverly Community House, the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival is supported by the F. Lammot Belin Arts Foundation and its mission to “build community through the arts.”

Dedicated to nurturing emerging and independent filmmakers from Northeast Pennsylvania and around the world, the three-day festival correspondingly promotes cultural awareness and appreciation of film as an art form by exposing local audiences to unique and original cinema. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

The fourth annual Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival is sponsored by the Lackawanna County Council of the Arts, WVIA Public Media, People’s Security Bank and Trust, and Madame Jenny’s Speakeasy.

Learn more about local filmmaking and the making of the short horror film “The Road Less Traveled” that debuted at the 2019 Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival with Lindsay Barrasse, David Corigliano, and Mystery Box Film Challenge organizer Desiree Zielinski in Episode 98 of the NEPA Scene Podcast: