Wharton Studio Museum announces its  Silents Roar! Film Fest for youth in Southern Tier coming Spring 2019. You can watch an interview with us here!

Wharton Studio Museum, Seneca Film Festival, and Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications are pleased to announce that Silents Roar!, a silent short-film festival for youth in the Southern Tier, is coming back in spring 2019.  The festival premiered in 2017.

Inspired by the role Ithaca and the region played in silent movie history a century ago, Silents Roar! is an exciting opportunity for youth ages 13- 18 in the Southern Tier to explore filmmaking, and create a short silent film.

Information about Silents Roar! Film Festival will be sent to all middle and high schools in the Southern Tier.

Entrants will produce a black & white silent film, 3-minutes in length and following other guidelines listed on the festival’s registration page. No previous filmmaking experience is necessary!

A Screening and Awards Ceremony celebrating all entrants will be held Saturday, April 20th, 2019 at the Roy H. Park Auditorium at Ithaca College.

All submitted films will be reviewed by a jury panel consisting of film and media professors from Ithaca College and PRIZES will be awarded!

The first prize winner will have their film screened at the Seneca Film Festival in the fall of 2019.

Silents Roar! is produced by Wharton Studio Museum, a local nonprofit committed to preserving and celebrating Ithaca’s role in early American filmmaking.

The festival was originally conceived of by Fiona Okumu when she was a senior at Ithaca High School in 2016. Okumu is currently attending Ithaca College, where she is majoring in Writing for Film, TV, and Emerging Media.

Okumu’s vision is to give local youth a forum to explore their interest in film as an art form or career by creating narratives that explore themes relevant to them.

“I only found out about Ithaca’s movie history when I was a junior in high school,” Okumu said. “I then contacted Mayor Myrick, and, at his suggestion, got in touch with Diana Riesman at Wharton Studio Museum, and told her about my idea for a silent film festival that would pay homage to the Wharton, Inc. Studio.”

From 1914 to 1919,  Wharton, Inc. Studios — created by filmmaking brothers Theodore and Leopold Wharton –was a bustling motion picture production studio here in Ithaca, NY, that produced hundreds of reels of films starring some of the best-known actors of the era. Located in what was then called Renwick Park (now Stewart Park), the historic Wharton Studio building is one of only a handful of silent film studios still standing in the country, an important artifact that this region is lucky to have.  Wharton Studio Museum plans to develop the building into the Wharton Studio Museum and Park Visitor Center.

Silents Roar! registration is open from October 15 through March 15th, 2019. Students MUST be registered to submit a film.

For registration details and information please visit or our Facebook page.

Films MUST be submitted by April 15th, 2019.

To submit a film please visit Submissions sent after this date will not be considered or judged.

Silents Roar! will be reaching out to local businesses and organizations for support with the hope of engaging the community in this arts, culture and education-based initiative which WSM hopes will become an annual event.