Chautauqua Tonight To Present Insomniac Film Festival, Contest

Chautauqua Tonight will present a series of events next week, including the annual Insomniac Competitive Film Festival, a Creative Lit “Flash Fiction” contest and a “Fun and Flicks” fundraiser for the film festival. Submitted photo

Community members with aspirations toward or interest in filmmaking and creative writing will have opportunities to try their hand at both next month.

Chautauqua Tonight is preparing to present, over the course of two consecutive weekends, the return of the annual Insomniac Competitive Film Festival as well as a Creative Lit “Flash Fiction” contest.

“I’m excited that, through Chautauqua Tonight, I’m able to help facilitate all this creativity,” said Paul Schermerhorn, Chautauqua Tonight founder. “I just love seeing what sort of stories people come up with, whether on film or on the page.”

Now in its sixth year, the Insomniac Film Festival encourages participants to form cast and production teams in order to write, film and produce a two- to five-minute short film over the span of a single day. This year’s filming will be held from 6 p.m. Friday through 6 p.m. on Saturday with a 3 p.m. screening of the submissions to follow at the Willow Bay Theater on Sunday, July 16.

“The Jamestown Insomniac Competitive Film Festival is a fun opportunity for experienced and inexperienced filmmakers in Chautauqua to try something new,” Schermerhorn said.

On Wednesday, a fundraiser on behalf of the film festival, entitled “Fun and Flicks,” will be held at Brazil Craft Beer and Wine Lounge from 5-8 p.m. The event will feature live music by Mike Brunacini, a 50-50 and a giftcard giveaway. Presale tickets to the July 16 screening and awards show will also be available.

For more information, find “Fun and Flicks: A Fundraiser for Insomniac Film Festival” on Facebook.

The Creative Lit contest is something fresh to the Jamestown region, allowing participants the opportunity to craft a short story and submit it for a chance to win prizes.

“A while back, a friend of mine entered a short story contest and it got me thinking about how there’s nothing like that going on around here,” Schermerhorn said. “So I decided to put one together. It’s ‘flash fiction’; short enough anyone can put something together.”

Stories must be less than 1,500 words and utilize a minimum of three “provided elements” in the form of words or phrases listed on the Chautauqua Tonight website. Submitted stories will be reviewed by a three-judge panel, which will determine the winning submissions. The first-place prize includes a prize package worth $150 or greater, second-place includes a prize package worth $75 or greater, and a special teen prize consists of $100.

Submissions must be received by Saturday. For a complete listing of rules and requirements, visit