Pens To Lens 2015 Announcement!

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign-Urbana Film Society’s (CUFS) third annual Pens to Lens Student Screenwriting Competition begins on February 1st, 2015. In addition, CUFS is hosting the first Pens to Lens High School Film Festival that will run alongside the Screenwriting Competition. The student writing portion will run through February 28th, with filmmakers producing films for an August 2015 red carpet gala.

Pens to Lens is a screenwriting competition that invites K-12 students in East Central Illinois to submit original screenplays. If their screenplay is chosen, a member of the local filmmaking group Champaign Movie Makers (CMM) will turn that script into a short film. Additional scripts will be adapted as movie posters by designers from the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO).

Over 150 scripts were submitted to last year’s Pens to Lens Student Screenwriting Competition. Of those scripts, 22 films were produced and screened at the Pens to Lens Gala to nearly 1,100 people at the The Virginia Theater. In addition, CUDO members transformed nearly 60 scripts into movie posters that were displayed at the Gala.

New this year is the Pens to Lens High School Film Festival. Current or recently graduated high school students, or equivalently-aged home school students, are encouraged to produce and submit original short films by June 30, 2015. All films must be written, directed, and crewed by high school students. The winning filmmaker will receive a prize and see their film screened at the Pens to Lens Gala.

Interested students should sign up on the Pens To Lens website to express their interest in participating. Members of the local filmmaking community will be available to act as mentors for students interested in participating in the Film Festival. Thanks to the support of Flex-N-Gate, and the assistance of Adorama and F&V Lighting, a BlackMagic Pocket Camera, lenses, audio gear, a light kit, and a Macbook laptop loaded with Final Cut Pro X, are all available for students to use to complete film projects.

Submission guidelines, educational materials, previous year’s films, and more, are all available at For additional information, or if you are a local filmmaker, designer, or actor interested in helping, please contact

Pens to Lens - Jan 15, 2015 | News