It’s that time of year — yesterday we announced the semifinalists for the 2012 Youth Free Expression Film Contest and we couldn’t be more excited.

Reasons why we’re excited:

1. Theme: Banned Books. This year’s films asked students to respond to the prompt “You’re Reading WHAT?!?” and talk about attempts to censor teens’ reading choices – something dear to our hearts.

2. Great entries. There are twelve semifinalists because so many of the films were so great we had a really tough time narrowing them down.

3. STELLAR JUDGES. Our judges this year are an impressive bunch. For starters:

Sherman Alexie. You may remember him from such books as the oft-challenged The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Cecily von Ziegesar. You may remember her from that book that’s now a hit TV series: Gossip Girl.

Tasha Robinson. You know The Onion A.V. Club? She’s their national associate editor.

Kirby Dick. You may have heard of the Oscars…This filmmaker is currently up for Best Documentary for The Invisible War.


Stay tuned – every day we will be posting one of the semifinalist videos for your viewing pleasure. Check out our film contest page to learn more and to find out the winners when they are announced.