For this year’s YFEP Film Contest, we invited teens to create a film on the importance of expressing one’s gender and identity through personal appearance. The 3 winners tackled a wide range of polarizing, and often taboo, topics including gun violence, immigrant family separation, gender equality, toxic masculinity, shaming and bullying, and climate change.

The Chairs of the New York Film Academy Departments of Documentary Film and Cinematography, Jonathan Whittaker and Andrea Swift, along with guest judges Alex Gino, Julian Winters, and Gina Leonetti, selected 3 winners. First place went to Jenna Miller for Unzipped, the story of a teen’s decision to reveal a non-traditional gender expression within a traditional family. Second place was awarded to We Are The Art, directed by Abraham Flores, which artfully tackled the filmmaker’s journey with culture and identity.  The third place award was given to Cadence Callahan for Hair Care, a film exploring Cadence’s relationship with her natural hair and the memories of her grandmother doing her hair when she was a little girl.

The top three filmmakers will receive cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250.  The first place winner will also receive a scholarship to the New York Film Academy.

FIRST PLACE WINNER: Jenna Miller (San Rafael, CA)

SECOND PLACE: Abraham Flores (Los Angeles, CA)

THIRD PLACE: Cadence Callahan (Sacramento, CA)