By Carla Zanoni
INWOOD — The deadline is looming for kids to enter "Lights, Camera, Read," a writing contest that offers its winner a chance to see his or her story performed by puppets in a short film at Robert De Niro's Tribeca Cinema Platinum Pias Awards early next year.
Despite the threat of reduced hours and branches closing citywide, many children spent their summer at the Inwood branch of the New York Public Library dreaming of worlds they found in books and conjuring up their own stories inspired by the literature they read.
Yianni and Alison Stamas, two Inwood parents who founded the Manhattan Kids Guide, spearheaded the contest in upper Manhattan with help from the library, community volunteers and donations from several Washington Heights and Inwood businesses.
Stories will be assessed by a Northern Manhattan and Bronx panel of judges, headed by Danita Nichols of the library’s Inwood Branch. In addition to having his or her story performed at De Niro’s awards, the short film will also be released on DVD.
Second place winners will a magic kit and third place will win an educational DVD.
Kids interested in entering the contest must submit a short story that was inspired by a favorite published book of between six sentences and three paragraphs in length. The deadline for entering is Sept. 5.
Parents can help with the writing for kids younger than six, but are asked to allow kids seven to 18 the chance to write the stories on their own.
Full instructions on how to enter are listed on the LightsCameraRead site.