Vampire flick takes home top prize at Harrisburg Vidjam


An exorcism musical, an unlikely Dungeons and Dragons master and a lovesick vampire — can only mean one thing. 

“Vidjam film festival,” exclaimed Emma Browning, an actress in “She Swiped Bite”.

Since 2015, Harrisburg filmmakers have participated in Vidjam, a short film competition, but instead of getting weeks to prepare, participants only have 48 hours to write, film, and edit their work. 

“They got their theme Friday night, wrote all night long, filmed all day Saturday, and then edited on Sunday and then turned it in, and now, here we all to see them all,” Browning said. 

Eleven films took on this year’s theme, “inner demons,” including one group of 12- and 13-year-olds. 

“She Swiped Bite,” a film about a vampire who met his girlfriend on Tinder, won the top prize, “Judge’s Choice.” 

“What if his girlfriend doesn’t realize he’s a vampire and everyone else did,” said Ashleigh Pollart, who wrote the script. “So, kind of just the irony in that and just his personal struggle in being a vampire.”

The creators behind Vidjam wanted to cultivate the budding filmmaking scene in Harrisburg by giving creators a platform to show their work while receiving feedback. 

“A lot of times when you make something, you put it on YouTube and then its 200 people watching or you get 200 views, maybe, and nobody really sees it after that. And this is kind of a way to get you an audience,” said Sam Miller, founder of Harrisburg Vidjam. 

The event has sold out each year since it started. Is associated group, Central Pennsylvania Filmmakers, boasts members in the hundreds. 

“We have monthly meet-ups and stuff like that, so there’s an opportunity for people to learn and develop skills,” Miller said. 

“There’s really a role for everyone if you want to be involved in it. It’s a really fun time to create something unique and then celebrate this community with the Vidjam,” Pollart said.

Click here to watch, “She Swiped Bite.”

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