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Make a movie in 72 hours. Win cash prizes!


Competitive or Family Fun


May 11-14, 2023

In Person & Online - St Johnsbury, VT

You did it!

You made a film in just 72 short hours!

From all our judges and the entire Tap into Film team, thank you for being part of this year's event and taking on the challange of making a film in just 72 hours. We hope you had a fun weekend. We are so proud of the films you created and we look forward to watching them all.

Audience Favorite Award Announcment

Awards Watch Party
Watch on Facebook

Be sure to share your films with family and friends, and encourage them to vote for your film in the Audience Favorite competition. Voting start now and ends May 16 @ 11:00 pm EST! The winner will be announced here.

Watch The Films!

Festival Playlist of all films


2023 Best Acting - Competitive

"The Porcupine"
Team: The Critics

2023 Best Acting - Family Fun

"The Woodland Witch"
Team: The Pearly Dogs

2023 Best NEK in-person Award

"The Quill"
Team: Team Sutton Valley

2023 Audience Favorite Award with 80 votes

"The Recipe"

2023 Participation Raffle

"The Quill"
Team: Team Sutton Valley

2023 Participation Raffle

"After the Rain"
Team: Makeroni

What can wildlife film be to you?

Vermont's Northeast Kingdom's own Emmy-nominated Matt Aeberhard, is one of the world’s leading wildlife cinematographers. Through his lens as a filmmaker and while shooting around the globe for outfits such as Netflix and the BBC, he has seen the effects of a human-dominated world on our wildlife in up close. Now, he is asking for your help. Make your own narrative or documentary film that celebrates the wildlife in your own backyard and answer the question: What can wildlife film be to you?

Make a narrative or documentary film that explores the theme 'wildlife' using the required script prompts in just 72 hours!

About Matt

Team Registration

You Play a Role

Take it from Matt; you don't need to travel to the Serengeti to make a wildlife film. Wildlife is just that, the wild life all around us. Now you can play a role in telling it's story.

Be it the bee buzzing on Spring's first wildflowers; plants sprouting in the greenhouse; the mold in your fridge; they all deserve carefull study and certainly more than the 3 minutes this competition allots.

A documentary film like Matt and Melanie's own The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos (2008) can be a poetic portrait of animals and the environment they inhabit. A film like My Octopus Teacher (2020) can highlight our relationship with the wild world as well as tell our own story. And narrative films like Okja (2017), Fly Away Home (1996), and Life of Pi (2011) can also highlight our relationship with the wild world, explore deep philosophical questions, and still provide thrills, intrigue and laughs.

Redefine what a wildlife film can be and make one in just 72 hours!


Wildlife Filmmaking Workshop

Thursday, May 11 @ 5:30 pm EST

Join our judges in person or online for a Wildlife Filmmaking Workshop. Right after the opening kick-off, wildlife film producer and writer Melanie Finn will discuss her work; the importance of creating local wildlife films; and discuss strategies for how to create one in just 72 hours. She will field questions and brainstorm ideas.

Melanie will get in the weeds (pun intended) of what it means to make a wildlife film and how to do it. Melanie was lead producer and script writer for The Crimson Wing (2008) and spent thirteen months with directors Matt Aeberhard and Leader Ward shooting the film on the banks of remote Lake Natron in Tanzania. She will share her experiences working on that film and others while fielding questions and offering guidance on writing and shooting your own wildlife film.

And get a few in the field tips from some of the world's leading wildlife cinematographers and filmmakers!

Matt himself was mentored. He got his start shooting with the naturalist Hugo Van Lawick on the plains of Serengeti filming wildlife feature films on 35mm film. Now his work can be found in The Crimson Wing, Netflix's Our Planet jungle episodes, and Disney Nature’s Penguins: Life on the Edge to name a few.

Melanie is an award winning novelist, documentary film script writer, and the founder and director of a small healthcare charity in the remote Tanzanian bush. Notable film scripts include The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos (2008) and Turtle: The Incredible Journey (2009). Her novels include The Hare, which was the winner of The Vermont Book Award 2022.

With a background in film, Bobby was a science educator at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for 18 years. There he gave planetarium presentations, led outdoor explorations, and taught countless lessons on nature, science, and history to people of all ages. Bobby is now the Vermont State Representative for Waterford, Barnet and Ryegate.


Make a film in 72hrs & win cash prizes!

No matter what camera you use or your experience level, make a wildlife themed film that includes the required script elements, upload your film to YouTube, and share the link with us before the 72 hour clock runs out to be entered into the running for cash prizes and scholarships!

Award Details

How does it work?

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Write an original script or outline using the required prompts.
a script icon
Shoot and Direct your film!
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Edit and Upload your film to YouTube.
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Win Prizes and watch the films!
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Do it all in just 72 hours!

Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

Register a Team

Participate Anywhere!
Join us for the in-person kick off at Catamount Arts (115 Eastern Ave. St Johnsbury, VT) where we will be announcing your third required script element live. Come size up the competition; share war stories; or offer advice to new comers. (Please be familiar with Catamount Art's Covid-19 Event Policies before planning to attend.

Teams participating virtually, watch the kick off and watch party right here!

Join our judges and celebrate the completion of your films with an in-person NEK Film Showcase on Sunday night at the Art Port in St Johnsbury.
The official festival wide awards ceremony will be presented by our judges at the Awards Watch Party here on May 14 @ 6:30 pm EST!

On Location

You’re on location, and your family and friends are your cast and crew! Tap Into Film allows any family or youth team to compete in a global online film competition with cash prizes and scholarships.

Your Backyard

Protecting the environment starts in your backyard! We want to know what makes it special, how has it changed, what challenges does it face.

Remote Learning

Even when participating remotely, filmmaking is collaborative, and there’s an entire online community eager to help! Check out all the videos at our online learning center.

Online Learning Lab
Required Script Elements!
(You must include these prompts in your film in order to qualify for prizes.)
1st Prompt
A Recipe

Choose Your Bracket

Both brackets win prizes! Teams with past filmmaking experience should enroll in the Competitive bracket and those that are new to filmmaking can choose to either enroll in the Competitive or Family Fun bracket.

A middle schol teams poses for a photo at the award ceremony


Family Teams led by one or more "Experienced Filmmakers" (If you’ve made films before or you’re in film school, you probably belong in this bracket)

  • Best Film wins $1000 Cash and a $2500 Tuition Scholarship to any SOCAPA Filmmaking Intensive.
  • Eligible for $150 Cash Award for Audience Favorite
  • Entered into the $50 participation raffle.

Family Fun

A high school teams poses for a photo at the award ceremony

Amateur Family Teams with no or limited filmmaking experience and/or teams led by Youth Filmmakers (14yo or younger).

  • Best Film wins $500 Cash and a $1,000 Tuition Scholarship to any SOCAPA Filmmaking Intensive.
  • Eligible for $150 Cash Award for Audience Favorite
  • Entered into the $50 participation raffle.
Stay Tuned for Required Prompt Updates

Periodically, leading up to the event, we will release a new required script element for your film to include. In the past these have included props, sound clips, lines of dialog, and genre. Follow us on Instagram and sign up early to get the latest releases and get a leg up on the competition.


Best Film
[Competitive Bracket]
$1000 Cash & $2500 Tuition Scholarship to any SOCAPA Filmmaking Intensive

[Family Fun Bracket]
$500 Cash and a $1,000 Tuition Scholarship to any SOCAPA Filmmaking Intensive

Best Acting
[Competitive Bracket]
$500 Tuition Scholarship to any SOCAPA Acting Intensive.

[Family Fun Bracket]
$250 Tuition Scholarship to any SOCAPA Acting Intensive.

All Brackets
Audience Favorite - $150 Cash Award
Participation Raffle - $50 Cash Awards (Two Drawings)

NEK In-Person Film Showcase
[$600 in NEK awards offered by Kingdom Access TV]

ACTION! to save the Arts

Since 1975, Catamount Arts has presented world-class performances and independent films to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Promoting arts as the heart of community, Catamount offers classes, camps, and workshops to kids and adults; performance and exhibition opportunities to local and national artists; and a regional box office for 40 Northern New England arts organizations. Catamount produces the KCP Performing Arts Series, First Night North, and the Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury Music Series, and is thrilled to partner with SOCAPA once again for the Tap Into Film 72-hr Film Slam.

Make a Donation

Catamount Arts Logo

Event Rules


Teams must have at least one member under the age of 21.

Filming Restrictions

The spirit of Tap into Film and Slam the Curve is to make a film while staying safe. Make your films responsibly under your local health guidelines.

Script Requirements

Films must include the three required script elements (TBD) and the genre that you must draw on your team page anytime after Thursday, May 11 @ 5:00 pm EST.


Final films should be 1 to 3 minutes in length. All films must be produced, edited, exported and submitted during the 72-hour period. Films submitted after the deadline will not be elligable for prizes, but can be hosted on the watch page.

Film Submission

Final films must include: A beginning title card with: The film’s title, “Made for the Tap into Film 72 Hour Online Family Film Slam”, the team name, and the names of all team members.

“Made for the Tap into Film 72 Hour Online Family Film Slam”
First Last
First Last
First Last

These required segments will not count against the film’s total running time.
All films must be submitted by Sunday, May 14 @ 5:30 pm EST via your team page. https://www.socapa.org/tapintofilm/login


All films must be PG. Basically: don’t produce anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother or younger siblings to see. Prohibited content includes (but may not be limited to) drug use, sex, graphic violence, and defamatory statements. Additionally, no copyrighted materials should appear within students’ films. If any of these rules are broken, the films will be disqualified at the sole discretion of the Film Slam judges. Any assigned props/locations/themes must be used in the film.


Use what you have - cellphones are great! Keep it simple.

Film Slam Directors


Alex Shea

Alex has been working with Catamount Arts to co-direct the 48 Hour Student Film Slam since the start of the event seven years ago. A Burlington, Vermont native, Alex has a passion for telling stories. He teaches filmmaking full-time at St. Johnsbury Academy and is the Academy’s Lead Video Marketer. He has worked on documentary and narrative films, as well as commercials. Alex has worked alongside directors Alma Har’el, Jamie Yerkes and Bess O’Brien. Alex has well-rounded experience behind the camera, editing, producing and directing; which he is particularly drawn to. Not only does he love making films, but he strives to share his passion by teaching and inspiring the young storytellers he works with each day.


Patrick Kennedy

A Vermont cinemtographer, editor and Technical Director for SOCAPA's summer programs, Patrick is the man behind the curtain at Tap Into Film. Working with Vermont filmmaker, Bess O'Brien, Patrick has been prinicple camera on four feature documentaries and numerous short films. He has also edited several feature documentaries and one narrative feature. [patrickrobertkennedy.com]


2022 Best Acting - Competitive

"Moonlight in Vermont"
Team: General Admission

2022 Best Acting - Family Fun

"The Road Critic"

2022 Best NEK in-person Award

"Spy Guy"
Team: WesMotion Animations

2022 Participation Raffle

"Wild Quest"
Team: Moore is More

2022 Participation Raffle

"Operation Exodus"
Team: The Vermonstskis

Our Sponsors

TAP INTO FILM would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Please email Jody Fried at jfried@catamountarts.org if you would like to become a sponsor.

Kingdom Trails
Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium
Maple Grove Farms
Kingdom Access TV
Kinney Pike | One Digital
Green Mountain Solar
Northern Counties Health Care
Front Porch Forum
Community National Bank
Whites Market
Passumpsic Bank
The Riverside School
Dan Wyand PT
Paige & Peter Crosby
Larry Rossi
David M. Johnston
Two students working with a camera in the snow
A young filmmaker smiling on a snowy ski hill
A young filmmaker filming an actress with a dslr camera