NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – With New Mexico seeing a boom in the film and television industry, one organization is training the next generation of filmmakers.

“I’m super excited for this year because last year was so fun, just the opportunities that came with it was amazing,” said Megan James, a senior at Miyamura High School in Gallup.

She’s also a film director. Last year, she was one of the winners at the festival put on by Film Prize Junior New Mexico.

“It’s so exciting to be supporting this next generation of young storytellers here in New Mexico,” said the Director of Film Prize Junior New Mexico, Rosey Hayett.

Film prize is a Louisiana-based organization that encourages filmmakers to create short films. As New Mexico’s film and T.V. industry grow, organizers decided to target the state’s youth.

“We’ve just found this treasure trove stories that are being told by these kids about their state and watching these kids be as prideful as they are about New Mexico is something that is really what film prize junior has always been about,” said Founder and Executive Director of Film Prize Foundation, Gregory Kallenberg.

The organization provides middle and high school students support and access to mentors. While it’s open to all students, they’re trying to get more Native American students interested in the industry.

James mentioned, “The most important thing we need right now in the film industry is indigenous representation because we don’t get a lot of that.”

Winners can receive up to $2,500 in grant money to buy production equipment. They can also qualify for scholarships for students or cash rewards for teachers.

Hayett mentioned, “We are very committed to providing access to opportunities for careers here in New Mexico.”

Once students sign up and film their story idea; their film hits the big screen. Last year, the film festival had more than 500 students from around the state competing. They expect to have even more participants this year.

Kallenberg added, “It’s such an amazing bright group of kids and teachers that are really creating some of the best content.”

Organizers say they already have 54 schools signed up. The deadline to apply and submit scripts is December 5. The festival will be held in April at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.