The kids are all right! Reel Youth Film Touring Film Festival gives a forum for a new generation of filmmakers

A VO editor has promoted this story.

The Touring Reel Youth Film Festival, part of the Vancouver International Film Festival, features short, youth-made films from all over the world and provides a forum for empowered young artists to share their stories, perspective, and voice. The Reel Youth Film Festival is a glimpse into how a new generation of filmmakers is embracing film and animation to express themselves.

Hundreds of films are submitted to Reel Youth each year for the touring festival. A youth jury judges the films for their content, quality, and technical merit—on that basis 19 films were selected and shown, seven of which were locally made.

The sheer breadth of topics that were dealt with in these 19 films was astonishing. We were treated to a climate change protest mobile piano dance party, a reminder of how swirlies are done, anti-homophobic claymation, a personal account of what it’s like to be a young Iranian newcomer in the US, and an interview with a First Nations youth talking about how he first learned his Auntie Janet disappeared from the Downtown East Side and what that meant for his family.

Following the screening the local filmmakers fielded questions from the audience about their experiences making their films. One of the filmmakers, AJ Lutsky, shared how he created his line art aesthetic using filters for his film, “Minimalist”. Instead of a stuffy, film-buff tête-à-tête-style Q&A, we got straightforward, totally unpretentious answers about what it feels like to see your own film on screen, how the filmmakers get inspired, and how fun it is to find your name in the VIFF film guide.

So often we are either fearing for youth or are afraid of them. Getting a chance to see and hear what’s on these filmmakers' minds felt like a celebration of youth culture and an exciting glimpse into what other independent youth filmmakers are doing.

You can watch hundreds of youth-made films on Reel Youth’s website at www.reelyouth.ca and on their YouTube Channel.

The Reel Youth Film Festival will continue across Canada and throughout the world and will have screened almost 30 times come August 2011. 

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