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.


Registration is required. Filmmakers who register receive

a box at the launch party. In the box are items that must be used in the 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


Meet The Judges

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.

Lindsay Barrasse is a Multimedia Content Creator, Producer, & Strategist. She has won dozens of awards and accolades for her filmmaking endeavours. Her passion is Directing, Cinematography, and Color Grading but has been known to dabble in all aspects of production. Her and her husband David Corigliano own and operate Voyager Video, a Video Marketing and Production Agency.


Originally from the Scranton, PA area she now resides in Asheville, NC but remains involved in the arts and film community of her hometown. When she is not behind the camera, Lindsay enjoys nature and has a passion for wellness activities. She travels around with her dog, Indiana Bones the adventure pup, hiking and enjoying the little things about life. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor, NLP Practitioner, Artist, and Author.

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. 

Tara Gadomski is an actor, writer, director and audio producer based in Philadelphia and London. In 2019 she was awarded a Sundance / Knight Fellowship and has also worked for the BBC for over twenty years.  She makes films and plays about diverse and complex humans who are female all or some of the time. With her work, she wants to help people who live outside rigid social norms, to feel less alone.   

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


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to register to participate?

Yes, you do have to sign up in order to participate in this challenge. A Google Form usually goes out on our social media pages and is linked to the button up at the top of this website. Follow the challenge on Facebook and join our Facebook Group to stay up to date on what is going on with the challenge. 

Do I need a team to sign up?

Nope, you don't have to have a team organized in order to sign up. You can sign up for the challenge and then form your team later. You can have 6 or more on your team or you can make your film yourself as a team of 1. 

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 one team participate out of the state. We can mail your box in the United States. Not sure how we would handle international participants but we'll cross that bridge if we get there. ;) 

How do I get my box?

Those who sign up receive a physical box of items they have to use in their film. We usually hold a Launch Party to kick off the start of the challenge and invite those participating to come. The Launch Party is where everyone gets their physical box. We can also mail your box or make an alternate pickup arrangement if you can't make the Launch Party. 

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 from your box 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?

Submit your film by emailing a private link with access to download from DropBox, Google Drive, etc... to

mysteryboxnepa@gmail.com. We are not accepting physical copies. We can make alternate arrangements with you if need be just send us an email. 

Contact Us!

© 2020 Mystery Box Film Challenge. Proudly created with Wix.com

Special thanks to Big Idea Photo and Video Productions' Jeff Fowler and Jer Tobin for creating the Seven Parody Film for the Mystery Box Film Challenge. 

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