Our Mission

Project Twenty1’s mission is EPIC.

We Educate, Promote, Inspire, and Connect artists through film and animation programs, in order to help build their creative passions into careers.

While schools provide many skills needed to create great work, they rarely provide tools such as access to collaborators, funding, theatrical public exhibition, or distribution. Project Twenty1 strives to fill those gaps, to help each artist, no matter where they are in their career, to reach the next step.

Our Beginning

Project Twenty1 was founded in 2006 by Philadelphia-area animator Stephanie Yuhas and Matt Conant, a live-action filmmaker.

The pair realized that their talented friends had stopped being creative, in part because school had not prepared them for the realities of the industry, and they now had “real jobs” to pay the bills. Project Twenty1 was created to provide motivations that were hard to find outside of school: 1) inspiration, 2) a deadline, and 3) an audience.

Over the years, Project Twenty1 has run many programs from The Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival which welcomed thousands of people to the city from around the world, to 1-on1 student Mentorship programs. Project Twenty1 programs have resulted in the creation of over 300 original short films, and the exhibition of over 1,000 films and animations to over 15,000 attendees. We became a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in 2010.

Films screened at PFAF have sold to Netflix and other distributors. Others have received Academy Awards. 21-Day films have received screenings in 23 states and 11 countries. We have connected over 24,000 emerging media artists to paid opportunities. Post-festival surveys show that 52% of our creative community reports receiving paid work in their field for the first time as a result of our programs.

Throughout the years, we at Project Twenty1 are best known for our flagship program, The 21-Day Filmmaking Competition. We are excited to announce the return of this program in the autumn of 2019 in an exciting new format.

  • 2019

    National Relaunch!

    In 2019, Project Twenty1 relaunches its competition with an eye cast towards truly international participation. Taking full advantage of social media and advancements in screening technology, the single-screen Philadelphia experience is replaced with a series of screenings with not just local but global online reach!
  • 2013

    National Recognition

    Project Twenty1 is ranked among Moviemaker Magazine's Top Festivals. The 21-Day Competition is hosted by Joel Hodgson of Mystery Science Theater 3000, who also selects the year's "Secret Element" all films must contain. (It was "Jump," leading to films about everything from strange pharmaceutical side effects to jump drives to jumper cables.) PFAF receives and screens everything from first-time filmmaking masterpieces to episodes of Adventure Time and Weird Al music videos.
  • 2010

    Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival Debuts

    Combining our 21-Day Competition with a submission-based film led to the creation of the 4-day-long Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival. The festival led to some amazing creative collaborations, international guests to Philadelphia, and over half a million dollars in economic impact to the Greater Philadelphia Region*. Over 50 Teams participated in the 21-Day Competition; some for the first time, some for the fifth! (*Source: Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance)
  • 2006

    First 21-Day Competition

    21 Teams, 21 Days. Our first-ever competition hosted teams from as far as Miami, Los Angeles, and Japan. Yet our winning team was a group of UArts students from Philadelphia, PA. The other teams gave them a standing ovation. That was the moment we knew our community was something special.

Our Staff

Project Twenty1's Founders

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Stephanie Yuhas

Executive Director
Stephanie Yuhas co-founded Project Twenty1 after graduating from the Philadelphia University of the Arts with Honors (BFA, Animation.) As a professional media artist, she saw a need in the market for an organization to support aspiring media artists who did not have access to education, cast, crew, equipment, or screening opportunities. She is most well known for her work on Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (Netflix) and Moot (WHYY-TV.) She lectures on topics such as “Women in Film & Animation,” “Filmmaking on a Shoestring,” and “Networking & Pitching for Introverts.”
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Matt Conant

Artistic Director
Matt Conant co-founded Project Twenty1 after graduating from Temple University with a BA in Film & Media Arts. Matt Conant has over fifteen years of experience as a writer and director on shorts, features, and episodic content, including the series Moot, Nerd vs. Geek, Living in 8 Bits, OverAnalyzers, Super Plumber Bros, and Society: Why It’s Wrong. He is a writer for Netflix’s reboot of cult favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000. He is the founder of Cinevore Studios, which creates smart comedy and genre content for film, web and broadcast.

Our Board

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Ryan Leib

President – Keystone Wealth Management Group of UBS
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John Duffy

Treasurer – Rivergate KW Residential
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Stephanie Yuhas

Executive Director
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Matt Conant

Artistic Director
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Courtney Baxter

30 Under 30 Film Festival
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Deborah Bookstaber

Element Associates
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Jim Flanagan

Mentor, RSVP
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Jenni Powell

New York Film Academy