StudioFest Jess Jacklin Charles Beale Ryan Oksenberg Lowam Eyasu

StudioFest, a unique traveling film festival that gives moviemakers the chance to make a $50,000 film, is open for applications today for its latest festival, to be held this fall in Austin.

While other festivals award prizes and awards, StudioFest is unusual in that it actually help its winners produce a micro-budget feature film. It finds talented writers and directors through its submission process, then serves as an indie movie studio work out out an original idea and get the films made.

StudioFest’s first feature, Souvenirs, is a thriller set in small-town Michigan that has secured worldwide distribution. The winners of last year’s StudioFest, director Ryan Oksenberg and writer Lowam Eyasu (pictured above), are in preproduction on their feature alongside festival founders/producers Jess Jacklin and Charles Beale.

Oksenberg’s winning film was a darkly comic twist on the typical zombie movie. Eyasu won with a scene from a script about a complicated family dynamic. After being names the winners at last fall’s StudioFest in Ojai, north of Los Angeles, they went to work collaborating on a new idea, with a $50,000 budget.

One of the charms of StudioFest is its rotating location: It started in the Catskills region of New York before moving to Ojai last year, and this year travels to Austin.

MovieMaker attended the second StudioFest and can attest to the creativity and drive of all involved.

To submit, visit or

The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18 who has not yet produced a feature film. Directors should submit short films, and writers should submit unproduced feature-length screenplays as a writing sample.

The festival chooses 10 finalists and provides a travel stipend, as well as room and board for the weekend. Here are the entry fees:

○ Early Bird = $35 until April 22nd

○ Regular = $50 until July 8th

○ Late = $65 until August 3rd

For more information, email: [email protected]

StudioFest Poster