Most fundraisers are a means to an end to raise funds, but the Millburn Film Fest is just the opposite, it’s an event that showcases the impact the donations have on the community that additionally raises funds for the Education Foundation. Each year the Education Foundation of Millburn-Short Hills “Puts Students in the Spotlight” by featuring original short films that students at Millburn Middle School & High School have created, supplemented with equipment donated by EdFMSH. It offers a unique opportunity for the district to display how students can express a powerful message through the images, words, and music they blend into their short films. On a larger scale, it shares with the community how elementary, middle, and high schools have embraced technology to grow with the way students use media to communicate and learn in the 21st century. The fundraising conducted by the Education Foundation has had a significant impact on the district’s ability to infuse technology and create a culture of learning that is interactive, creative, collaborative and ever changing.

Millburn Film Fest Founders Alyssa Russo & Lynn Jaeger

Back in 2011, Education Foundation of Millburn Short Hills members Lynn Jaeger (Farscht) and Alyssa Russo attended the EdFMSH annual fundraiser Millburn Schools Rock, where they watched a music video Millburn High School students had created for the event. They were so impressed with the talent of the high school students they thought it would be a great idea to have a film festival to exhibit the artistic innovativeness of our middle school and high school students. So in 2012, the first Millburn Film Fest took place. Each year, complete with red carpet and paparazzi, over 400 attendees are treated to view the creative works of Millburn Public School students that the volunteer panel of industry professional judges have selected.   This unique event draws Millburn alum and residents to loan their talent by volunteering to judge the films and mentor students. Past judges have included: Jon Kilik, John C. McGinley, Cathy Scorsese, Alan Zweibel, Joe Kernan, Stephen Whitty, Stuart Sender, Kay O’Connell, Michael Klein, David Koh, Emily Bauer, Stephen Zinnato, Brian Sullivan, Trish Gonnella-Russo, Yale Chasin, Chip Todd, Tim Drucker, Sara Louise Lazarus, Frank Meo, Leslie Glenn Chesloff, Kerry Glass, Ilene Lasky-Klein, Nancy Dries, Dr. Christine Burton, and Millburn Arts Advisory Committee members – Laraine Brennan Barach, Amy McGovern, Victoria Plummer, Andrew Permison, Orna Greenberg, Donna Davis, Kathi Hecht, and Judith Kramer.

The students have embraced this event, and the quality and diversity of films they produced is awe-inspiring. It gives the students a unique outlet to showcase their work that is not available at most schools throughout New Jersey. This event exhibits the influence of the EdFMSH donations on our students. Studio 462 was solely started in Millburn High School via funding from EdFMSH grants/gifts. Gifts to the studio and related art courses have totaled over $70,000 since Millburn Film Fest’s inception.

We are now in the 8th year of showcasing Millburn students’ talent and couldn’t be any prouder of what the students produce and we get to share with the community each year! Please come and see the films and support the students and schools through the Education Foundation of Millburn-Short Hills.