FORT LEE, N.J. — Moviemakers of tomorrow gathered at Fort Lee High School on Saturday to share their work with their peers.
Eight finalists from Bergen County placed in the 2015 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow festival, sponsored by the Fort Lee Film Commission. More than 100 high school students submitted short movies, with the committee narrowing it down to eight.
The judges included Michael Gandolfini, son of the late "Sopranos" star James Ganolfini. Tom Meyers, executive director of the Fort Lee Film Commission, said "The Sopranos" highlighted the state's iconic scenery.
"What James and ['Sopranos' creator] David Chase did in New Jersey was terrific," Meyers said.
Ganolfini's sister Johanna, presented the first-place prize to Lodi High School junior Urmil Dalal.
Other finalists included Bergenfield High School students Kyle Siringan, Alexander Garcia and Anthony Lorelli, Pascack Valley students Alex Hacopian, Andrew Favorito and Zachary Kaplan, and Alden Etra of Fort Lee High School.
Dalal, 16, won for his film "Parallel Parking" depicting the struggles of one student's quest to pass his driving exam and the help he received from the Backstreet Boys.
"It was a great experience," Dalal told Daily Voice. "It always feels great when your movies makes an impact and you feel like you did a good job."
Meyers noted that all eight of the finalists were winners. Nelson Page, executive director of the Fort Lee Film Commission, said he saw tremendous talent in the young directors.
"The submissions this year," Page said, "were better than they've ever been before."
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