All About Armonk

North Castle Daily News

Film Foundation Awards Aspiring Student Filmmakers

June 25, 2015
When Byram Hills High School sophomore Matthew Hisiger died in a car accident in February 1999, he left behind a community inspired by his passions. Intent on pursuing his dream of screen writing, directing and filmmaking, Matt had already been accepted to the New York Film Academy for that summer. To carry on Matt’s legacy, his family, supported by his teachers, his friends and his community formed The Matthew S. Hisiger Film Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to nurturing high school students who have an interest in filmmaking, screenwriting and videography.  

The Future Filmmakers Festival is a collaboration of The Matthew S. Hisiger Film Foundation and The Picture House in Pelham. The Festival is fully supported by The Executive Office of Westchester County.

Hisiger Film Foundation
This event has been a gateway for Westchester’s most prodigious high school filmmakers and film students, providing them with the feedback and experience necessary to further their potential careers.

Seven ambitious Westchester students were awarded top rankings at this year’s 2015 Future Filmmakers Festival. Featuring short, ten-minute films, students throughout the county participated in the annual festival at The Picture House.

Starring their creative skills in writing, filmmaking, and cinematography, these aspiring filmmakers produced an assortment of genres including narrative, documentary, comedy, drama and musical. These filmmakers of tomorrow revealed diverse tales of struggles, emotional and physical, and triumphant moments. Top four submissions were awarded the “Chester,” Westchester’s take on the Oscar.

Bestowed the first place award was Annie Beyer-Chafets of Mamaroneck High School. Her drama “Same Page” focused on a young man’s challenge to acknowledge the changes between him and a female friend as she grows into her femininity. Receiving second place was Eastchester High School’s student, Cheyenne Gherardi whose documentary “My Dyslexia Story” shed light on her experience learning with dyslexia. Third place comedy was awarded to four Eastchester High School students, Bobby Martin, Kevin Wingertzahn, Kyle Mcintyre and Brian O’Neil. Their film featured what one boy went through to save his kidnapped family, becoming the ultimate super hero. Rounding out the talented awardees was Catherine Sullivan of Bronxville High School. Her documentary “My Version of Normal” led us through the challenges of navigating a normal day for a teenager living with Cerebral Palsy.

“I had such an incredible and memorable experience participating in the Future Filmmaker's Festival at the Pelham Picture House. I grew up in Pelham and it was both exhilarating and humbling to watch something I had made on the big screen where I saw all of my childhood favorites. It was the first film festival I had ever attended, and I really enjoyed seeing the vast assortment of work that my talented peers around the county are creating. Participating alone was a tremendous honor and winning first place completely blew my mind. Mostly, I was just thrilled that the audience was able to get something meaningful and special out of my story. So many wonderful people came together to bring "Same Page" to life and I could not be more pleased and grateful for the way it turned out,” said Annie Beyer-Chafets.

With the main goal of nurturing creativity and opening doors, the anticipation of next year’s event awaits the raw abilities of future filmmakers. For more information on applying, please visit or contact Dale Hisiger at


Since 1921, The Picture House has served as a cultural center and community hub and is the oldest, continuously running movie theater in Westchester County. Today, after an extensive renovation and the addition of state of the art technology, The Picture House shows the best in new, independent and classic cinema and provides students of all ages with the opportunity to learn about the art, science and business of film. In a world where you can carry a movie screen in your pocket, The Picture House preserves the sense of community, wonder and engagement that has existed since the formation of the first theaters. The Picture House, a community-based, mission-driven, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is located at 175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, New York, 10803. Contact us at,, or (914) 738-3161.