Phantoscope High School Film Festival is marking its 17th year — which is approximately the age of its young filmmakers. 

Richmond Art Museum is again organizing the free public festival Friday, April 19, which is free for the public.  

A professional Hoosier filmmaker opens the program at 6 p.m. to share insights about his career. 

Then, at 6:30 p.m., the audience will start watching 14 short films made by teens from around the United States and Canada. The shortest is just longer than 1 minute, with many in the 3 to 4 minute range. The longest is nearly 13 minutes. 

One of the films, “Everybody’s Lonely,” is made by Richmond High School junior Emily Hawkins and senior Maya Hawkins. 

The other Hoosier finalist is called “Balmy Night/Vermächtnis” and is directed by a Floyd Central senior. 

The competition gives students a chance to share their films on a large screen in front of a live audience and via Facebook. 

Two cash prizes will be awarded — $500 for Best Hoosier Film and $1,000 for Best Film. 

The festival begins with a talk by Hoosier filmmaker John Oak Dalton in RAM’s newly renovated McGuire Auditorium, 350 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond. 

Dalton, who works full-time as director of communications and marketing for Indiana University East, also writes and directs films. 

Dalton sold his first screenplay in 1999 to the direct-to-DVD market and has since sold more than 40 screenplays. More than two dozen have become films on television, at film festivals, on streaming, on video store shelves and in dollar bins. 

In 2018, Dalton moved to writer/director with “The Girl in the Crawlspace.” He has since directed two more feature films while continuing to write screenplays for other genre directors.  

Hear Dalton discuss filmmaking

Western Wayne News recently featured local filmmaker John Oak Dalton, who will speak at Richmond Art Museum’s April 19 Phantoscope film festival, on its podcast hosted by Kate Jetmore.

John Oak Dalton
Western Wayne News Podcast
<a href="">John Oak Dalton</a>

Other recent episodes include pianist/musical director John Bronston, Richmond Civic Theatre executive director John Faas; violinist Caroline Klemperer, organic farmer Wendy Carpenter and Western Wayne News owner Chris Hardie.  

Those who can’t attend in person may watch the film screenings the following evening, at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 20, via RAM’s Facebook page,

The festival was inspired by former Richmond resident and inventor C. Francis Jenkins, who created the first projection device that he called a Phantoscope.

Additional local students’ visual art will be celebrated that weekend. 

RAM will open the 18th annual All Wayne County High School Art Exhibition in its galleries. A reception is planned from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20, and awards will be announced at 1:10 p.m. The exhibit will be open through May 18. Admission is free.  

For more information, call 765-966-0256 or visit

Film festival selections

These films will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 19, at Richmond Art Museum, 350 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond. They also will be shown online at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 20, via RAM’s Facebook page. Admission and streaming are free. 

Here are the films’ names, length and their directors’ towns.

  • “Everybody’s Lonely” (3:13). Emily Hawkins and Maya Hawkins, Richmond (Indiana) High School
  • “Alone: Short Film” (6:37). Boca Raton, Louisiana 
  • “Balmy Night/Vermächtnis” (4:50). Georgetown, Indiana
  • “Breadwinners!” (4:01) and “Dean’s List (12:54). Savannah, Georgia
  • “Cacophony” (3:26). San Pablo, California 
  • “Cosmic Burger” (3:00). McKinney, Texas. 
  • “Doom-Scalator” (1:06). Toronto, Ontario. 
  • “Dynamic Duo” (2:07). Houston, Texas 
  • “Encapsulated” (4:00). Mamaroneck, New York 
  • “From Stage to Screen – The Musical Journey of Jacob Sproul” (8:00). Louisville, Colorado
  • “Unseen Heroes: Caregivers in America” (6:20). Troy, Michigan
  • “You are Yixuan (no matter if you’re 15, 17, 18 or alien)” (9:59). Aurora, Ontario
  • “You Don’t Know What It Takes to Come Home” (4:42). Farmingdale, New Jersey
Share this:

A version of this article appeared in the April 17 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.