Young filmmakers
contest Winners 2017

The One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest is pleased and proud to announce the winners for 2017! Their films premiered at the One Earth Film Festival on March 4, at the Columbia College Music Center in Chicago. A photo gallery of the big day is below, with the winning films underneath.

Elementary/Middle School category: Jaxon and Miles Toppen. “Shells in Need of Saving.“ A film about ecosystems. Young Filmmakers attend Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest, Illinois.

Middle School category: Ruhi Shastri Saldanha. “Deforestation.” A film about open space and ecosystems. Young Filmmaker attends Julian Middle School in Oak Park, Illinois.

High School category: Christina Yin and Elizabeth Hou. “Crash 'n' Crumble.” A film about open space and ecosystems. Young Filmmakers attend Monte Vista High School in Danville, California.

2017 Honorable Mention

Elementary School level: Frederic and Boomer Small. “All About Sharks” A stop-motion animation about water and ecosystems. Young Filmmakers attend Suder Montessori Elementary Magnet School and Beaubien Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois.

Middle School level: Amparo Acevedo, Josh Dingman, Sam Dingman, Laurel Ditzel, Danielle Guralnick, Cerys Hattersley, Amanda Janus, Zoe Klein, Sophie Larratt, Julia Patson, Daliah Ramos, Mateo Reyes, and Sarah Ungaretti (all are Brooks School Eco Eagles). Yard Hunters.” A film about open space and ecosystems. Young Filmmakers attend Brooks Middle School in Oak Park, Illinois.

College level: Breana Kloski. A Revolution Dance Against Petcoke. A film about energy and waste. Young Filmmaker attends Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois. We are awaiting permission to post this video on our website from the musician, Raury. Meanwhile, a link to the film is here. This film did not meet our criteria of presenting an environmental problem and a solution. However, we applaud it's originality and creativity. Warning: song by Raury does have profanity which was bleeped at our awards event.

Thank You to our 2018 Contest Jury:

Deborah Adelman is an English professor at College of DuPage, where she co-founded and directed the Community Education Farm. She teaches writing and film classes, including the co-taught seminar, “Seed, Soil, and Soul.”

Felice Bassuk, a screenwriter and film producer, is currently working on an immigration film.  Her short dramatic anti-smoking film, “The Call,” was screened at festivals across the country and is being distributed to schools, health departments, and youth clubs.

Amy Brinkman is a retired board member for The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association. She has been a volunteer/assistant for Wicker Park DIY Landscape Design Class and a "Kids Grow" program that helps young people develop a relationship with the environment and an appreciation of the arts.

Sylvia Christmas is retired from a career in real estate. She helped establish some of the first Oak Park drop-off sites for recycling. She also plants and maintains a half acre artificial prairie including milkweed and butterfly weed plants for monarch butterflies.

Kelly Doss has worked as a marketing executive for over 20 years creating commercials and video content for major brands globally.  Most recently in film, she was a producer for the highly acclaimed 2017 indie film Princess Cyd which premiered at over 50 film festivals globally.

Bill Gee has worked in the food industry for over 25 years and has supported the One Earth Film Festival since its inception. He is a board member for the Sugar Beet Food Co-op, Chicago Public Media (WBEZ) and MOMENTA Dance Company. 

Jeff Lassahn is an after-school teacher/mentor to high school students at the Chicago Public Library’s YouMedia. He also creates art about inequality, war, and politics in a variety of media, which has been shown nationally and internationally.

Richard Laurent, former creative director/art director-animation for Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, currently teaches in the illustration program at Columbia College Chicago. His paintings are represented in several Midwest galleries.

Jennifer Maiotti has over a decade of experience writing, producing and supervising documentaries for National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Travel Channel, A&E, and MSNBC. She is publishing a children’s book about rainforest life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Jonathan Moeller is the Film Program Coordinator at the Beverly Arts Center.  He teaches production and visual storytelling to students of all ages while also working as a freelance filmmaker in the city of Chicago.

Charles Raymond is a life-long Oak Parker who received a degree in Arts Management from Columbia College and a law degree from Northern Illinois University.  He has produced music and comedy shows and a Chicago-made film.

Roberta Raymond serves on the "Success of all Youth" committee of the OPRF Community Foundation and the First Tuesday Art Film committee of the Lake Theatre.  She has written and illustrated two children's books: "Amy and the Amaryllis" and "Three Sea Tales" -- acclaimed by the Ocean Conservancy. 

Jim Rohn co-directs the animation program at Columbia College Chicago. Formerly, he worked in the video game industry and also developed and illustrated comic books. Jim teaches computer and traditional animation production classes.

Dan Sloboda is Patagonia's Environmental Coordinator for the Chicago area, supporting local grassroots environmental nonprofits through grants and community activism. He also serves on the Alliance for the Great Lakes' Young Professional Council.

Angela Taylor manages the Fulton Street Flower and Vegetable Garden, along with her family. In addition, she works for the Garfield Park Community Council as the Wellness Coordinator.

Lauren Travers Wall is an animator, art director, art assistant, and production designer in the film industry. She and David Arthur Wall recently created the official Claymation stop-motion music video for, “Fanger,” by The Kickback.

David Arthur Wall has created films in the field of education for a nationwide after-school program, an Evanston school, and Steve and Kate’s Camp, a summer program for children. He and Lauren Travers collaborate on stop-motion projects.

Karen Weigert is a Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs focused on climate, energy and sustainability in global cities. Karen was also a producer and writer of the documentary film Carbon Nation on solutions to climate change.

Ellen Wiggins, LCSW, is a retired clinical social worker and independent producer in the areas of addiction, community mental health and education. She has a life long commitment to using film and photography as a therapeutic tool for youth and adults.

Caroline Ziv founded her production company Big Red Bike Media after 15+ years producing for TV shows including Good Morning America, Dateline NBC, and The Oprah Winfrey Show where she often worked on episodes about environmental issues.

2016 Winners

  • High School category: Liam Loughran. “Transportation” A film about transportation. Young Filmmakers attends Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, Illinois.
  • Middle School category: Kendall Dirks. “Cutting CARbon Emissions.” A film about transportation. Young Filmmaker attends Sandburg Middle School in Elmhurst, Illinois.
  • Elementary School category: Miles Toppen and Carter Workman. “Pretty Nice Island--The Movie.” A film about energy, transportation, and waste. Young Filmmakers attend Willard School in River Forest, Illinois.
  • Honorable Mention High School level: Veronika Lubeck, Kate Conneely, Emma Alm, Katherine Cusack, and Sarah Whiteside. Trinity Team Green.” A film about waste. Young Filmmakers attend Trinity High School in River Forest, Illinois.
  • Honorable Mention High School level: Marieke de Koker. Iaglo.” A stop-motion animation about waste. Password is iaglo. Young Filmmaker attends Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan.
  • Honorable Mention Middle School level: Alex Schrader, Zoe Klein and Amanda Janusz of Eco Eagles. What’s in Your Lunch? A film about food. Young Filmmakers attend Brooks Middle School in Oak Park, Illinois.

2015 Winners

  • High School category: Hinsdale Central Ecology Club. Why Have a Garden? A film about food by Josh Feldman, Stephanie Jamilla, Claire Hultquist, Wendy Li, and Rachel Chang. Young Filmmakers attend Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, Illinois.
  • Middle School category: Kelly Colbert Adam, Annie Nuntarach, Veronica Brooks, and Emily Kerstetter. Unplugged: a Short Video about Saving Energy.” A film about energy. Young Filmmakers attend Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest, Illinois.
  • Elementary School category: Ezra Nudd and Kian Tan. “Peregrine Falcons.” A film about saving animals. Password is boyssavinganimals. Young Filmmakers attend Keystone Montessori in River Forest, Illinois.


2014 Winners

  • High School category: Hinsdale Central Ecology Club. “What Will You Do?” A film about transportation by Stephanie Jamilla, Josh Feldman, Rachel Chang, and Wendy Li.  Young Filmmakers attend Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, Illinois.
  • Middle School category: Pineapple Productions: Ana Shack, Lillian Lowson, Marta Rohner, Isabella Saracco, Haley Gladden, and Cia Gladden.  “Earth 2114.” A film about water usage and resources.  Young Filmmakers attend Roosevelt Middle school in River Forest, Illinois.
  • Elementary School category: Jaxon Toppen, Danny Scholvin and Ray Deogracias. “Where Did The Rest of Us Go?” A film about electronic waste.  Young Filmmakers attend  Willard Elementary School in River Forest, Illinois.

2013 Winners

  • Elementary School Category: Wasteful Santa -Talia Levy, Elizabeth Larscheid, Ella Haas, Isabel Marx – Mann School
  • Middle School Category: Sporktagion: HEAT (Heritage Earth Action Team) – Heritage Middle School
  • High School Category: Let’s Talk About Water – Lea Kichler – Lincoln Park High School


The One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest is partially funded by a grant from the Manaaki Foundation.