ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Young film students from across the state came to Albuquerque to compete for thousands of dollars. Film Prize Junior New Mexico hosted its annual festival Saturday, where middle and high school students shared their films with the public. 

“This program is giving students the opportunity to tell their stories. It’s teaching them important skill sets and lessons such as communication, leadership,” said Christopher Chavez, liaison for Film Prize Jr NM. 

Film Prize Junior New Mexico is back for its annual event at the Albuquerque Convention Center. 

“We have several different genres. We have everything from dramas to thrillers, to sci-fi, zombie films,” said Chavez. 

The event was hosted by the Prize Foundation. A non-profit organization that focuses on goals including youth job training. 

“It’s like a very hard process to get through, but if you’re passionate enough about your own art, then you can get through it,” said Ezequiel Gallegos, a sophomore at Deming High School. 

This is the second year the event is being hosted in New Mexico, and this year, they had a record number of film entries with more than 93 short films made by middle and high school students. 

“It gives them an opportunity to be heard, to be seen, to share their stories, to share their culture, their families, their communities,” said Rosey Hayett, Director of Film Prize Junior NM.

A total of 17 of the films were made by Native American students, a record number for the event. Students showcased their films to the public on the big screen throughout the event. 

“The students are competing for scholarships and grants, which will be announced at our awards ceremony,” said Chavez. 

Students said the experience has been unforgettable. 

“Being part of a crew and that whole process of actually making a movie. I feel like it’s everyone’s dream,” said Sarah Guzman, a junior at Deming High School. 

The awards ceremony was at the Historic Lobo Theater Sunday.