Meet the Finalists of the 'Story Through Lighting' Contest!

Here are the top 10 entries in our Story Through Lighting Contest, presented by Blackmagic.

We love to build a platform for the No Film School community to create and share their work, which is why we have been so excited to see everyone's entries in our Story Through Lighting Contest. There truly was some amazing, unique work submitted.

After watching all the entries, we have narrowed down the field to these top 10 shorts.

The top 10 will go on to be judged by the following filmmakers and creators, in partnership with Blackmagic, to choose our top-placing winners.

Cirina Catania
Cirina Catania
Cirina Catania

Cirina Catania was one of the original co-founders and a former executive director of the Sundance Film Festival.

She is a writer, director, DP, and tech-oriented filmmaker/journalist with numerous film, broadcast television, and broadband credits. 

When not involved in her own projects, she helps other companies maximize their production and post-production workflows, and achieve success in distribution and marketing.

She remains an active mentoring producer with the Producers Guild of America.

Shaina Holmes
Shaina Holmes
Shaina Holmes

Shaina Holmes is a veteran visual effects artist, producer, and supervisor with more than 200 film and television credits. She’s contributed to iconic films like The Notebook, the six-time Oscar-winning musical Chicago, and her team was nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award for her work on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Holmes also founded the VFX and post-production company Flying Turtle Post, which specializes in invisible visual effects. Additionally, FTP is a resource for aspiring artists and women filmmakers to help make VFX and post-production more approachable and inclusive.

In addition to leading Flying Turtle Post, Holmes is a tenure-track assistant professor of Television, Radio, and Film in the Newhouse School at Syracuse University focusing on Post Production and VFX. She founded two post-production groups: Park Post (PP) at Ithaca College and Syracuse University Post (SUP!), which utilize her vast network of post-production colleagues and former students to create a collaborative learning space, while connecting her current students’ interests in VFX and post-production directly to the industry through mentorship and engagement. 

Holmes is also an active member of the Visual Effects Society and NYWIFT (New York Women in Film and Television). Her other credits include HBO’s True Detective and Vinyl, feature films like Men in Black 3, Tropic Thunder, and Swiss Army Man, as well as various Ken Burns documentaries including Vietnam, The Dustbowl, and Central Park Five.

Read our interview with Shaina to learn more.

Julian Terry
Julian Terry

Julian Terry

Julian Terry, represented by CAA, is an accomplished writer, director, and cinematographer. He moved out from Chicago to LA in 2014 after flunking out of his intro to film class. 

He is the creator behind viral horror short films The Nurse, Whisper, and They Hear It.

He has received studio deals from Amblin, New Line Cinema, and Legendary. His first short won a contest and got noticed by David Sandberg. His second horror short got a deal from Amblin after none other than Steven Spielberg saw it.

And now, his latest short Don’t Peek was shot in his bedroom and is getting him a feature deal with Timur Bekmambetov and BAZELEVS.

Read our interview with Julian to learn more.

The Top 10 Finalists

Now, please enjoy the top 10 entries in the Story Through Lighting Contest. Thank you to everyone who entered—we love seeing your creativity at work and hope everyone is inspired to keep shooting and keep playing!

Filament by J. Connor Bjornson

Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyRpGO8u_hQ&ab_channel=J.ConnorBjornson

Mystery on More Street by Harry Hertrick and Peter Geale

A Lovely Date by David Ayon

The Beacon by Strandkorbfilm

Reanimer by James Graves

Blinded by Mathew Hitchcock

The Lost Piano by Igor Vlas

Helicopter Roommates by Grant Strange and Keaton Straub

Lockdown Mayhem by Alex K

Enlightenment by okofilm

Stay tuned to learn who wins the grand prize! Thank you again to everyone who entered.     

Check out more coverage from our Blackmagic Week!

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Your Comment

6 Comments

There is some pretty neat short film, I really like "Mystery on More Street".

If someone want to criticize my work, this will be really useful for me.
My short is named "#storythroughlightingcontest Your own madness" on YT.

August 5, 2021 at 3:22PM

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I was genuinely quite surprised to find that two films in the top 10 though had been posted last year. I thought that the film had to be made specifically for the competition.

Also I guess I was not quite clear on the rules when it said that the music has to be original, but I saw a few of the contestants using music from epidemic sound. I think the rules really have to be more clear!

Never the less, I hope you guys keep posting contests like these! It was a lot of fun making my short!

August 5, 2021 at 3:31PM, Edited August 5, 3:31PM

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Neo
92

I agree, the submissions should have been specifically for this not retrofitted into a submission for this that the original production was not meant for.

The budget and time-constraint alone skew the results. Along with corrupting the spirit of competition.

August 5, 2021 at 3:55PM, Edited August 5, 4:03PM

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Zachary Lewis
Cinematographer
212

Yes, it is very demoralising as you say.

August 6, 2021 at 9:11AM, Edited August 6, 9:28AM

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Neo
92

I’m honestly confused by some of these selections, and as humbly as possible believe wholeheartedly my short should’ve made this list. I’m still incredibly happy for these finalist, but my opinion in my own art submission is still steadfast.

Regardless I hope someone can enjoy it, and learn from how I used color contrast, ratios, and a wide variety of strength to my lighting in terms of story telling in my shorts link below.

“Small Victories”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i57UKJUDDnI

August 5, 2021 at 3:50PM

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Zachary Lewis
Cinematographer
212

Agree with all the comments here. It really is too bad that so many selections blatantly disregard both the rules and spirit of the contest. I didn't enter but did follow the entries and really enjoyed seeing what could be made under the given constraints. Seems like the panel weren't quite as concerned about people meeting the brief as the rest of us were.

August 7, 2021 at 12:24PM, Edited August 7, 12:24PM

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