A Primer on Open Category Films | Beyond the Peaks Film Fest 2023

The Open category is for films that don’t fall under the other submission categories of Comedy, Drama, PSA, or Documentary. These films can be in a range of genres—from horror to animation, science fiction to music videos—the sky’s the limit! With this experimental category, you’ll find the freedom and flexibility to satisfy your creative spirit while making something distinct and new!

Open category requirements:

  • Film must be under 5 minutes in length
  • Pre-production materials including a script and storyboard
  • Promo materials including poster, trailer, synopsis and credits

Students can submit original films in a variety of additional categories including Drama, Documentary, PSA, and Comedy.

Discover Films Full of Variety

Get inspired to create your own film with this selection of student filmmaker productions. Explore inventive techniques and diverse topics—from scary stories to stop motion animation—there’s a whole world of films out there to discover.


Trapped! was created in 2019 by students from Wilbur Cross High School. In this film that turns the classic horror genre on its head, a group of high school students watch a scary movie, but on-screen fiction quickly becomes reality.

Art & Life

Check out this short feature, Art & Life, created by students from Nonnewaug High School in 2018. Using stop motion animation, viewers contemplate the age-old philosophical question, “does art imitate life or life imitate art?”.

Human Family

Explore the depths of Maya Angelou’s famous poem, “Human Family,” in this 2018 film created by students from Windsor High School.

Enter the “Beyond the Peaks Student Film Festival”!

To get started, create a student or teacher account on Skills21 Launchpad. Explore tutorials, resources, and step-by-step instructions on how to successfully submit your completed film entries!

Documentary | PSA | Drama | Comedy | Open entry

Submissions are due April 30th with winners announced at an end-of-school year Red Carpet Showcase. The top three winners will receive a cash prize and video supplies!

Sign up for Beyond the Peaks!

Register your account today to get started, and receive email updates about the festival.