Their short film may have been about the challenges of loneliness, but Emily Hawkins and Maya Hawkins hopefully felt the love Friday when their creation won the Audience Choice Award at the 17th Annual Phantoscope High School Film Festival.

The duo, students at Richmond High School, produced “Everybody’s Lonely” about a teenager struggling to get over a breakup. The 3-minute film can be seen on YouTube and was shot in familiar locations around the area. It features music by the band Jukebox the Ghost.

Everybody’s Lonely is a short student film produced by Richmond High School students Emily Hawkins and Maya Hawkins

Their film was one of 14 films shown and judged at the event, held in Richmond Art Museum’s McGuire Auditorium. “Breadwinners!” by Kennedy Reid of Savannah, Georgia, won Best Film, which came with a $1,000 cash prize, along with Best Cinematography. A second entry from Reid, “Dean’s List,” won Best Screenplay.

Other winners included “Balmy Night/Vermächtnis” as Best Hoosier Film, “Dynamic Duo” as Best Animated Film, “Encapsulated” as Best Editing, “From Stage to Screen — The Musical Journey of Jacob Sproul” as Best Documentary, and Yixuan Chen in “You are Yixuan (no matter if you’re 15, 17, 18 or alien)” as Best Lead Performance.

Phantoscope’s high school film festival is juried by film industry and creative professionals and offers cash prizes that recognize creativity and quality in student filmmaking. Young filmmakers submit works from around the country and beyond; this year’s event saw entries from Louisiana, California, Texas, Ontario, New York, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey and Indiana.

The full list of the festival’s films and selections are available at

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A version of this article appeared in the April 24 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Chris Hardie is the owner and publisher of the Western Wayne News.