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ACA’s McClennen Award Honors Teen Video Contest Founders

In December, Arlington Center for the Arts proudly presented the Alan McClennen Community Arts Award to the organizers of the ATown Teen Video Contest: Eric Segal, Norm McLeod and Leland Stein. Over the past three years, they have created an annual event that encourages young artists and inspires a new generation of filmmakers. The Alan McClennen Community Arts award is presented annually to Arlington individuals and organizations that bring to life ACA’s mission of “transforming lives and building community through the arts.” In turn, it also honors Alan McClennen, former Arlington Town Planner, who was a driving force behind the creation of the Arlington Center for the Arts, now an invaluable community resource.

Eric Segal, Norm McLeod, and Leland Stein accepting the 2015 Alan McClennen Community Arts Award

Local business owner and father, Eric Segal first conceived of the A-Town Teen Video Contest when his own middle school children and their friends became interested in filmmaking and animation. Despite their interest, there was no opportunity to show their finished work and share their creativity with the community. In response, Eric, along with Norm McLeod of Arlington Community Media, Inc and Leland Stein of the Regent Theatre, founded the A-Town Teen Video Contest to create opportunities for Arlington teens to develop skills in filmmaking, to show their work on the big screen at the Regent Theatre, and to be publicly celebrated for their creative accomplishments.

Eric Segal, left, with Linda Shoemaker, middle, and Ella Bengtson, right, ACA’s Volunteer of the Year

Leland Stein says, “I have often felt that Teenagers are an underserved community/age group when it comes to creative activities and things to do in and around Arlington, including at the Regent Theatre, so I welcomed the opportunity to help produce and present the A-Town Teen Video Contest on an annual basis.”

Leland Stein, left, with Linda Shoemaker, middle, and Senator Ken Donnelly, right, at ACA’s Annual Meeting & Arts Party

Each year the festival showcases 10-12 short films written, directed, and acted in by Arlington teens, who are cheered on by a crowd of hundreds at the historic Regent Theatre. Local Arlington cultural and political leaders present awards in different categories, including best acting, best picture and audience favorite. Together with the support of, ACMi, the Regent Theatre and Arlington Center for the Arts, the festival is now in its third year and is growing to include more and more young filmmakers annually.

2015’s ATown Teen Video Filmmakers

Sponsor Norm McLeod of ACMi is particularly pleased with the growth of the festival: “It has truly been most gratifying to participate as a sponsor in the ATown teen Video contest. The quality of the student submissions is very impressive and the contest has become a focal point of student activity each year. A-Town is a wonderful way in which to showcase the creative talents of the next generation of movie makers.”

The 2016 ATown Teen Video Contest is now accepting submissions! View contest details at and attend the screening at the Regent Theatre on March 4, to support young filmmakers in our community.

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