The Mystery Box Film Challenge is a film challenge

for all who love to make films. Anyone can participate!

Be a team of 6 or a team of 1.


Filmmakers get items/prompts that must be

used in their film.


Filmmakers have roughly 2 months to complete a film. Those who submit finished films will have them premiere at the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival followed by a short Q&A and small awards presentation. So are you up for the challenge? Follow us on Instagram or Facebook

for updates!


The Mystery Box Film Challenge is run by Desiree Zielinski in partnership with Luz Cabrales of Scranton Films.  


Thank You To Our Partners

Creative Hub-02-02.png

Meet The Judges

Julian Santos.jpg

Julian Santos is a Producer, Writer, and Illustrator in the Los Angeles area. He has written multiple short and feature films and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting.

Carissima Hodovanec.jpg
Camera Profile Pic.jpg

Bridget LaMonica is a cinematographer originally from Hamlin, Pennsylvania. Bridget attended East Stroudsburg University for Media Communication, and when her student loans simply weren’t high enough, went for an MFA in Film and Television at the Savannah College of Art & Design. 


Bridget spent a couple years as a newspaper reporter after grad school, then devoted herself to filmmaking full time and moved to Atlanta. Bridget has operated camera and Steadicam on a wide range of projects.


When Bridget’s not on set, she’s a writer of geeky content for the website Den of Geek and designated belly-rub enthusiast for her dog Bailey

Carissima Hodovanec is a successful business owner and producer. She owns and operates multiple businesses in the NEPA area and she is a film producer and consultant on creative projects. 


Alexander Monelli is a Filmmaker, Director, Cinematographer, and Editor. Al graduated from Long Island University in 2009 with a Bachelor's Degree in Film. He currently produces video and documentary work for a variety of clients.


His feature directorial debut, "At The Drive-in," is now available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, DVD, and other streaming sites. Located in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, the Mahoning Drive-in has been in operation since April of 1949. This feature length documentary chronicles the pivotal 2016 season, in which the crew fully embraces their destiny as purveyors of 35mm film.


Al has also directed "Marionette Land" it takes you behind the curtain of the Lancaster Marionette Theatre and its eccentric owner Robert Brock, who lives above the tiny theatre with his 85-year-old mother, Mary Lou.


Fun fact, Al's favorite movie is Back to the Future. You can view more of Al's work at www.monellifilms.com.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a limit to the number of people on my team?

No, there is no limit to how many people are on your team. You can have 6 or more on your team or be a team of 1. Whatever you need to get the job done. 

Is this challenge only for those living in Northeast Pennsylvania? 

Nope, we want to welcome all to participate in this challenge. We had a few in the past participate out of the NEPA area but were still in Pennsylvania. We did have two teams participate out of the state. We did have two international as well.  

How do I get the items/prompts? 

Items and prompts will be listed on our Facebook page and Facebook Group. They will also be listed on our Film Freeway page. https://filmfreeway.com/TheMysteryBoxFilmChallenge

How long do participants have to make their film?

They have about 2 months to make their film roughly.  

Is there a time limit on the films?

The films created for the challenge are short films not feature length. They can be anywhere from 1 - 10 minutes in length this includes your credits and titles. The films cannot go beyond 10 minutes. 

Are there any other requirements for the films?

The films created for the challenge should align with the PG-13 rating. R or NC-17 films will not be accepted. The films should be 1 - 10 minutes in length including your credits and titles. They cannot go beyond 10 minutes. You must use all items/prompts in your film.

Are there any technical specifications?

Films should be 1920 x 1080 (aspect ratio 16:9) full HD, 24fps. The film may be in other aspect ratios & resolutions, as long as it fits within the 16:9 1080 24P display. H.264 is the preferred codec with a MP4 or MOV wrapper/file type. 

My film is finished how do I submit?

Go to our Film Freeway page https://filmfreeway.com/TheMysteryBoxFilmChallenge to submit. We do not accept physical copies. We can make alternate arrangements with you if need be just send us an email. 

Why is the challenge on Film Freeway with a submission fee?

We wanted to expand and grow the Mystery Box Film Challenge. Film Freeway is the premiere site to find film festivals and film challenges. And to reach a wider audience. We also wanted to streamline the submission process. We enacted a fee to help off set the cost for The Best of Show award and prizes. And also any marketing, advertising, and miscellaneous costs that were associated with the challenge the fee would go towards. 

Contact Us!

Thanks for submitting!