The formula is simple: 24 short films over two nights. The goal is more ambitious: providing the opportunity for student filmmakers to begin an artistic dialogue with an audience. And the venue is close: the 2016 Princeton Student Film Festival runs Wednesday and Thursday, July 20 and 21, at the Princeton Public Library.

Organized by library youth services coordinator Susan Colon, the festival now in its 13th year is open to local, national, and international high school and college students (and home-schooled or unschooled youth) ages 14-25.

To be considered the films must be complete (no rough cuts), run 20 minutes or less, and have original, royalty free, or copyright approved music. There is no entry fee.

Films are then reviewed by a committee of library staff and community members, and selections are made according to aesthetic, technical, and story-telling abilities.

This year’s entries from around the world totaled nearly 150 and represented a range of styles, themes, and genres.

Featured will be several works by central New Jersey filmmakers, including “Military Mom” by Aldo Battle, Mercer County Community College; “Portrait of a Sand Dancer” by Tatianna Sims, a Princeton High School alumna now at New York University; “Immeasurable Nature” by James Tralie, Princeton University; “Two Wheels” by Ana DeJesus, Princeton University; and “PUNKED!” by Adam McGill, a West Windsor native at Wesleyan University. Other filmmakers hail from as close as Medford, New Jersey, to as far as India.

The free screenings began at 7 p.m. and conclude with an after-party in the library’s cafe featuring refreshments provided by the Bent Spoon. The festival is intended for teen and adult viewers.

Princeton Student Film Festival, Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, Wednesday and Thursday, July 20 and 21, 7 p.m. Free. 609-924-9529 or

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