CASAC Hosting PSA Contest For Students

Chautauqua County students between the ages of 14 and 22 have an opportunity to put their filmmaking abilities to use and win $500.

The Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council is hosting a month-long, video public service announcement commercial contest centered on making positive decisions.

The contest, entitled “Live Above the Influence,” began last week and has a submission deadline of Oct. 18. The theme of the contest is to have participants visualize the ways in which they live above any negative influence in a positive way – and condense it into a 30-second video.

According to Billie Hubert, associate executive director of CASAC, the premise of hosting a video contest serves as an innovative and creative way to reinforce the value of healthy decision-making to students.

“The purpose is to deliver messages to support and help students stay above the influence,” Hubert said. “Our purpose is to get the message out. A lot of times, teens don’t like to be lectured. So this is sort of an insightful strategy of reinforcing and appealing to a teen’s sense of self-worth, and it fits right in with the digital and social media that are now the primary drivers of the campaign.”

According to the contest’s official rules, only student-produced films are eligible. While parent or adult assistance is acceptable, the message, concept and development must primarily be the product of the student. Participants must also be residents of Chautauqua County and fall within the specified age range.

CASAC will accept individual or group entries, but the submission must be completed by one primary contact. If a group is selected as the winner, the prize money will be awarded to the primary contact.

While Above the Influence has previously been held in other areas across the country by the National Anti-Youth Drug Media Campaign – a program of the Office of National Drug Control Policy – this is the first year CASAC has brought the campaign to Chautauqua County. Because of this, Hubert said CASAC wants to encourage as many entries as possible.

“We welcome as many submissions as we can get,” she said.

After the Oct. 18 submission deadline, a preliminary judging process will take place from Oct. 21-24, which will narrow the submissions down to five finalists. Judging will be done by a panel of volunteers, determined by CASAC, and will review submissions based on the following criteria: ability to inspire using positive messages, originality, clarity, quality and creativity.

The winning video will be announced Oct. 25. Hubert said, in addition to the $500 prize, the winning video will also be aired on Time Warner Cable TV and posted to CASAC’s website at

Hubert said funding for the contest was supported by Chautauqua Tapestry and United Way of Northern Chautauqua County, with further support from local video company Krazy Plate.

For a complete listing of contest rules and requirements and to retrieve a copy of the Registration/Image Authorization and Release Form, go to or the official contest Facebook page at

For more information, contact the Jamestown CASAC office at 664-3608, or email Laurie Reynolds at