On Saturday, March 31, at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood Screening Room, the 2018 Short Film Competition's Screening & Networking Event hosted over 25 attendess to celebrate the success of local and international filmmakers. Over 50 short films were submitted to our judges this year, which came from all over the world including countries like Iran, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Slovenia, France, Sweden, United Kingdom, Austrailia, and the United States.

The Short Film Competition buzzes and hums under the Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival. This annual event celebrates and encourages local and international filmmakers in their pursuit of cinematic excellence.

The Top 8 films were screened live at our festival event. At the event, the networking reception encouraged continued conversation between judges, filmmakers, and local professionals.

This year's Short Film Competition and Networking Event was generously supported by Point Park University, CMU's Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Steeltown Entertainment Project.


Nikhil Melenechuk
NIKHIL MELNECHUK - "Jack and Jill" (USA)

Nikhil Melnechuk is an award-winning filmmaker and poet in New York City, and a graduate of Wesleyan University. He received a certificate in Film & TV at India's prestigious National Institute of Design. He is Executive Director of Bowery Arts+Science (BA+S) and its historic NYC venue Bowery Poetry, which supports filmmaking and poetry in service of social change. Melnechuk assisted acclaimed Israeli filmmaker Amos Kollek on “Chronicling a Crisis,” Katy Chevigny of Big Mouth Productions on “Election Day” and Jasmine Dellal on “Gypsy Caravan,” before producing “Searching for the 4th Nail,” the first documentary directed by an American Rom (Gypsy). He produced narrative festival hits “Further Lane” (Dir. Mesh Flinders), “Jerome's Bouquet” (Dir. Bebe Neuwirth), and directed BA+S' 9/11 poetry documentary “Witness Downtown Rising Renga,” and a narrative short, “Something Happened,” which won the “Best Experimental” Award at the 2017 New York Shorts International Film Festival.

“Jack and Jill” won Best Short at the 2017 Malta International Film Festival, and Honorable Mention at the 6th Annual Katra Film Series Grand Finale. Melnechuk is currently developing “Jack and Jill” into a series, and developing a narrative feature “Bridge to Alta Vista” for Winding Roads Productions. His latest short production “Fevah” (Dir. Randall Dottin) premiered at the 2018 Vail Film Festival, and his feature documentary “Don’t Be Nice” (Dir. Max Powers) opens April 2018 at London's East End Film Festival and at Toronto’s Hot Docs. www.jackandjillarecoming.com

Noel Harris
NOEL HARRIS - "Touch" (Canada)

“Touch” is the sixth short film from writer/director Noel Harris. His films “Two or More” and the multi-award winning “Colic”, have screened at numerous film festivals nationally and internationally. He has also written a feature length screenplay “Gros Morne”. Noel has spent the past six seasons as the Assistant Locations Manager on “Republic of Doyle”. Most recently he was Unit Manager on the Netflix original series “Frontier”. www.shortfilmtouch.ca

Javad Daraei
JAVAD DARAEI - "Limit" (Iran)

Director Javad Daraei started studying filmmaking at the University of Tehran in 2014. He created his first film, “I Don’t Like Her”, in 2016 which went on to win 19 international awards. “Limit” is Daraei’s second short film and has won 16 awards from around the world.


Cara Friez Lewinter
Cara Friez-Lewinter
[Assistant Professor in the Cinema Arts Department at Point Park University]

Cara Friez, a native of Pittsburgh, is a media production professional with experience producing, shooting and editing a wide range of productions. Some of her most notable productions include working for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and CBS's As the World Turns. She currently heads up the editing concentration at Point Park University's Cinema Arts department, and will be moving into the chair role this May.

Aaron George
Aaron George
[Housefellow & Coordinator at CMU’s Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion]

Coordinator in the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Aaron George works on gender programs, specifically men and masculinity issues, and bystander education. Aaron has been at CMU for seven academic years and during his time he has worked in fraternity/sorority life on leadership and community programming, academic integrity, community standards, and a myriad of other programs, initiatives, and collaborations with departments and offices across campus. Aaron’s office is located in the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, lower level of the Cohon University Center, across from the bookstore.

Jeffrey Hinkelman
[Adjunct Instructor and Video Collection Manager at CMU]

Mary Ann McBride
Mary Ann McBride
[Community Outreach Manager at Steeltown Entertainment Project]

Mary Ann McBride graduated Summa Cum Laude from Point Park University and was part of the first graduating class of the Cinema and Digital Arts program (Screenwriting/Directing concentration) and honored with the Outstanding Graduating Senior award for her program. After graduating, Mary Ann was a part of several local crews including those of Adventureland and She’s Out of My League. Following her production work, Mary Ann was recruited by Entertainment Partners, the leading provider of production accounting and support services to the entertainment industry in the world. For nearly 8 years, she covered nearly all the major productions in PA - from Philly to Pittsburgh. Mary Ann joined Steeltown Entertainment Project, a non-profit supporting the independent film industry here in Pittsburgh, as the Community Outreach Manager in 2016. She has since taken on Steeltown's Indie department where she has found herself involved once again with production as a consultant, writer, director, assistant director and producer. Mary Ann is also a birth doula and surrogate, loves playing roller derby for the WFTDA and is a proud mother to two incredible girls.

Hanjin Park
Hanjin Park
[Assistant Professor in the Cinema Arts Department at Point Park University]

Hanjin Park has directed and edited projects for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sesame Street, GNC, AARP, and Japanese and Korean major record label studios. His independent films have screened at more than 40 film festivals around the world, and internationally distributed through iTunes and Ruthless Studio. He was one of the first two filmmakers to be selected in the Diversity Filmmaking Fellowship at J.J. Abrams' production company, Bad Robot.

Marty Schiff
Marty Schiff
[Visiting Assistant Professor in the Cinema Arts Department at Point Park University]

While a theatre student at Point Park, Marty Schiff's film career started by killing zombies in a mall in George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. This project would foster a friendship and professional relationship with Mr. Romero that has lasted more than four decades. Schiff has also worked on several other Romero projects including Creepshow and Knightriders. Following graduation, Schiff moved to Hollywood and began working on shows with major networks and studios, including Dallas, Knight Rider and Newhart. He guest starred on dozens of television shows in the 80s and 90s. Schiff would pioneer the Nickelodeon network with the groundbreaking series Out of Control, the first series produced by Nickelodeon for Nickelodeon and would set the stage for the networks style and success. Additionally, Schiff started one of the first all digital production companies in the region and produced films, commercials and TV content.

Laura Stamm
Laura Stamm
[Doctoral candidate in Film Studies and English at the University of Pittsburgh]

Laura Stamm holds a PhD in Film and Media Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She recently defended her dissertation titled "New Queer Cinema and the Biopic: Sustaining Life During the AIDS Crisis,” which examines the discourses of health, crisis and personal narrative that coalesced during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s and shaped queer filmmakers’ responses to the pandemic. Her next research project seeks to provide a history of queer film festivals in the United States and beyond, paying careful attention to how these festivals articulated a vision of queer life and politics to both local communities and the global queer diaspora..