A SCHOOL drama assignment may prove profitable for Ella Veit-Prince, 14, who has made the finals in the Youth Connections North Coast competition for the Nimbin Film Festival.
The young Richmond River student said she submitted her eight-minute film, Brian and Jerry, just to see if people would like it, and was selected to go into the running for the $300 first prize.
She received the good news from her mum after school on Wednesday.
Ella said she had been "really excited but quite surprised".
The piece took one day to film and several weeks to edit.
She said it was about a guy who went doorknocking and chanced upon his ex-girlfriend's house, making for a "funny and light-hearted" film.
Event organiser Darmin Cameron said everyone who entered was a winner.
"It's called a competition but it's more about the encouragement," he said.
Mr Cameron started the film festival four years ago to encourage youths to be creative.
He said it was a way for young kids to get involved with professional directors and open up opportunities.
"It's just a win-win for the community and for the young kids."
The success of the event has created a stir, with Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell calling it a "fantastic event".
"I'm delighted there's so much prizemoney," she said. "The standard will blow you away."
Mr Cameron said the competition was close and the judges had trouble picking a winner.
"There was an incredible collection of films. Docos, art house, blockbusters..."
Ella said if film-making were to ever present itself as a serious career, it would be great.
Winners of the film competition will be announced at the Nimbin Town Hall at 2pm on Saturday. Entry to the ceremony is free.