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Prudential Emerging Visionaries winner Mark Leschinsky of Mahwah, NJ is changing the youth film festival landscape

17-year old Mark Leschinsky of Mahwah, NJ is a Prudential Emerging Visionaires winner
Prudential/Societal NJ
17-year old Mark Leschinsky of Mahwah, NJ is a Prudential Emerging Visionaries winner

17-year old Mark Leschinsky, of Mahwah, New Jersey has been named a 2023 Prudential Emerging Visionaries winner for his inspiring commitment to improving the lives of others.

Leschinsky, the founder of “Student World Impact Film Festival,” joined host Doug Doyle to talk about his work and the award. His virtual film competition elevates the voices of young storytellers from underserved communities. He's thrilled Prudential Financial agrees with his vision."

"Being a student filmmaker since I was 11 years old, I always loved to play around with the camera to make films and be creative. I found that when making my first couple of films that I wanted to submit to film festivals to showcase my work, many festivals charge very expensive fees which can be very prohibitive for a lot of student filmmakers. I was also concerned about issues of equity in the filmmaking space."

Leschinsky attends Bergen County Academies in Hackensack.

Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young people ages 14-18 whose fresh perspectives and innovative solutions address pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities.

Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young people ages 14-18 whose fresh perspectives and innovative solutions address pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities.
Prudential Financial
Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young people ages 14-18 whose fresh perspectives and innovative solutions address pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities.

As one of 25 Prudential Emerging Visionary winners, Mark will receive a $5,000 award to help take his innovation to the next level. He is also invited to attend an all-expenses-paid trip with his parent or guardian to Prudential's Newark, New Jersey, headquarters for a three-day summit in April where he will receive coaching, skills development and networking opportunities with Prudential employees and other young leaders.

"At the Bergen County Academies, I'm very excited to take multiple filmmaking courses and to pursue my interest in film. I always love to dissect movies and think about shot composition and how filmmakers framed things, what special effects were involved."

During the summit, to be held April 22-25, 2023, five winners will also have the opportunity to present their solutions in a pitch-off, where a grand prize winner will be awarded an additional $10,000 in funding. What's more, Prudential employees will again vote to name an Employees' Choice Award winner, who will receive an additional $5,000.

Emerging Visionaries is a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka, a leading social impact organization, with support from the Financial Health Network, an authority on financial health and longtime partner of The Prudential Foundation. The program is an evolution of Prudential's Spirit of Community Awards, which, over 26 years, honored more than 150,000 outstanding youth volunteers.

You can SEE the entire interview with Mark Leschinsky here.

Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.