News Local/State

Student Screenwriters Premiere Films On The Big Screen

Pens to Lens logo

Champaign-Urbana Film Society

Some of central Illinois’ youngest screenwriters will see their films come to life on the big screen this weekend. 

The Pens to Lens competition allows school-age screenwriters to submit a screenplay that area filmmakers turn into a short movie. Local designers also select some of the scripts to transform into Hollywood-style posters.

The selected films will be screened for the public, and the posters on display, Saturday at the Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign.

Thomas Nicol with Pens to Lens says this year’s films range from serious themes, such as bullying, to the more absurd. 

“There’s funny stuff, there’s some creepy, there’s some action, there’s drama," Nicol said. "It’s a huge mixed bag. You know you’re going to feel everything at this show.” 

Nicol says the Pens to Lens competition received 160 submissions from students this year, and 19 of the screenplays were selected by area filmmakers to produce. 

The Pens to Lens competition, which began in 2013, is spearheaded by the CU Film Society. Doors open for Saturday's Pens to Lens screening at 1 p.m. at the Virginia Theater. You can get your tickets at the door or at visit