Press release: “Statewide High School Screenwriting Contest, Project Constellation, is Officially Underway!”

The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian last week:

Bloomington, IN – Constellation Stage & Screen, a new non-profit organization co-founded by John Armstrong and Zachary Spicer, owners of Indiana-based film company Pigasus Pictures, is announcing the 5th annual screenwriting competition for Indiana-high school students. The winning screenplay will be fully produced by professional filmmakers, in the hometown of the winner, with area students working alongside the pros.

“This is really a life changing opportunity,” says Armstrong, “a lot of young people grow up in Indiana, like I did, thinking that the entertainment industry is unattainable. Well, this is our opportunity to bring the film industry to towns across the state.”

And the benefits extend beyond the students. Constellation Stage & Screen, the producing entity of the contest, engages area schools, businesses, and other agencies to bring the production to life. Constellation also programs the world premiere of the film in the community where it was filmed. “This is about community engagement,” says Chad Rabinovitz, artistic director of Constellation, “filmmaking is a great medium because literally anyone can do it. The technology is now so advanced, young people are carrying around 4k cameras in their pockets. We just want to give them the knowledge to use that technology to express themselves through the art of filmmaking.”

To get involved, students should submit a short script (under 12 pages) that takes place in their own town and utilizes the inspirational theme of “Embracing Change,” a brief description of the vision for their movie, and a short introduction video. Entries can be submitted through Constellation’s website and are due by January 4, 2024. More details, tips, and even guides for teachers looking to incorporate this project into their curriculum are available on the Constellation website at .

“We really want young people to know that if you’ve never written a screenplay before, that’s okay!” Says Armstrong. “We’ve had students write individually, in groups, or even as a class project.” Previous winners include Kira Daniels from Madison, Whitney Roberts & Cynthia Foulke from Fishers, Marjorie Abrell from Spencer, and Sam Stanton of South Bend, and Piper Parks of Columbus. 

“We want to tell real stories about the real experiences of young people growing up in Indiana. Keep it simple, look around you, and just write what you know!” 

The finished film will be screened in Indiana theaters, submitted to film festivals, and subsequently made available for online streaming.

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