From WILL - Education Highlights -

Pens to Lens Student Screenwriting Competition

The C-U Film Society will again offer students K-12 an opportunity to see their words brought to life on the big screen.

Filming for last year's Pens to Lens

Filming for last year's Pens to Lens

The second annual Pens To Lens student screenwriting competition hosted by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society (CUFS) begins Feb. 1. The student writing portion will run through Feb. 28, and filmmakers will produce films for an August 2014 red carpet gala. All students in east central Illinois are invited to participate and all teachers are encouraged to share the opportunity with their classes.

The Pens To Lens Screenwriting Competition gives K-12 students an opportunity to participate in the local filmmaking community by writing original screenplays for short films. Without knowing what to expect, the CUFS received over 120 screenplay submissions from students aged 5 to 18 last year. 

Members of Champaign Movie Makers (CMM) produced NINE original films based on chosen submissions. Many other submissions were chosen by members of the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO) to be adapted as movie posters. The films and posters premiered to a standing-room only crowd at a red carpet gala at the Art Theater in downtown Champaign.

This year, the Pens To Lens Committee is welcoming participation in film production from K-12 students. The Pens to Lens Committee is also sending professional filmmakers and designers to visit classrooms and after-school programs.

Additionally, the Film Society is putting out a call to community filmmakers, actors, and designers who are interested in participating in bringing student scripts to life.

The website has submission guidelines and educational materials available. Once the competition starts, the site will allow students to indicate they would like to help on the filmmaking sets and teachers to request a filmmaker class visit. Any additional information can be found on the website or by contacting