Haley Pine and Brendan Egan met at the (in)famous AMC theatre in New York’s Times Square. The two young filmmakers had both submitted work to the All American High School Film Festival, and as luck would have it, their entries were screened in the same auditorium — a serendipitous start to their creative partnership.

Now, two years later, they are launching the Open Gate International Film Festival. From Nov. 5-6, at West Newton Cinema, it will screen 48 films — including two features — across a number of genres including drama, documentary and web series. It closes with an award show Nov. 7 at the Capitol Theatre in Arlington.

Egan, an 18-year-old student at Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury, has prior experience in festival management with the Screaming Ostrich Film Festival, also held in West Newton. Screaming Ostrich has a mission to promote diversity in the film industry, but Egan and Pine wanted to take that one step further. “I really wanted to further emphasize that,” Egan said. “... Both Haley and I are really young and emerging storytellers, and we wanted to provide opportunities to other local and international filmmakers.” From his point of view, the prime opportunity at film festivals is to network and collaborate, so that an artist’s next film can have a larger support system, which he recognizes as essential to filmmaking. “I feel film festivals are the gateway to connections,” he explained. Hence the name: Open Gate International Film Festival.

Organizing and launching a film festival already seems like a daunting task without the spectre of a global pandemic, let alone the responsibilities of being students. But New York University drama student Pine, 19, said that Film Freeway — a website that connects filmmakers, projects and festivals — was a great help. After Freeway approved their pitch, people could start submitting their work. Then they noticed some surprising submissions.

“We noticed a bunch of people submitting from all around the world because we gave them the opportunity to do so on the website itself — but how [word] got around internationally, I have no idea,” she said. “I think Film Freeway did most of the work on that, so I'll give them the credit. But it was very cool how that happened.”

Filmmakers from China, Russia, Spain and other nations are being thrust into creative dialogue with Boston filmmakers at this inaugural festival. While that may not have been wholly expected from the outset, Pine believes that kind of connection is the point of events like this. She said filmmaking is an inherently collaborative effort, and that festivals should be an avenue to facilitate creative networking and to see how work resonates with different audiences.

It’s hard to imagine how a festival like this can’t have a respectable upside, considering this is it’s inaugural edition, and that the co-founders are entering into a phase of formal education for their careers (Pine is already a student; Egan is in the process of applying to film programs).

Egan has been experimenting with film in some capacity since he was 2 years old. That curiosity led him to acting, and then to creating his first film at age 14.

Pine’s trajectory was similar in learning the layers of filmmaking: “I started in theater when I was about 6 years old, and then discovered film acting at 9, and then kept going from there.” At 15, she found her love of set, and picked up a camera.

As the creative partners launch the Open Gate festival, they are vocal about their ambitions for its future.

“We really want to expand and really get the word out that we are an international film festival,” said Egan. “We really want to continue to display diverse voices, and especially those from underrepresented communities. … I think that continuing to make a difference and changing the landscape of the film industry through festivals like Open Gate are essential to the direction that film’s heading in.”