VIFF 2013 Review: Reel Youth Film Festival

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One thing about the Vancouver Film Fest is that they show a lot of films and shorts from upcoming filmmakers. They also show films made by youth or young filmmakers too. The Reel Youth Film Festival–which is a festival all it own and had its premiere at the VIFF on Sunday–showcases films from young filmmakers.

Most of the time whenever there’s a shorts segment show I see, I review all the shorts one by one. Now rather than review the shorts, I will just describe what I saw. Besides I wouldn’t consider it to be fair to critique student films.

The twenty-five films were chosen out of three-hundred entries. The films are from Canada and seven other countries and range from one minute to nine minutes. They consist of animation or live-action. They are filmed on typical motion picture format or typical run-of-the-mill video camera. They range from a played-out stories to music videos to animation exhibits to social messages. Some of the films appeared amateurish in quality, some appeared quite professional in quality. Most can be classified as G-rated works but two films in the festival were rated PG with one even including nudity and masturbation (non-explicit, of course). Three videos included were also part of the United Way’s contest to create a one-minute anti-bullying film. Two videos were from the UNIS student program including one of two girls growing up in a rural area of Vietnam.

The films show a lot through their eyes. A lot of it is often about school life, home life and even the work life they anticipate to have in the coming years. Sometimes they focus on other people such as gypsies, two sisters in Vietnam, a graffiti artist or an elderly man in the town. Sometimes they focus on social issues like bullying, corporate greed, homelessness or drugs. Sometimes they focus on fun aspects like dating, school irritations, social media and even the city they’re proud to call home. Sometimes they even focus on nonsense subjects like the death of a sandwich, being scared by a ghost, an office dork or a certain secret about Barbie we never knew.

The thing is that most of the students doing the filming may or may not want to take filmmaking to further directions in their life. Some–like the directors of Crack, Hank and Light Switch–appear to want to take filmmaking seriously in the future. Many others look like they prefer the direction of animation. Some are just amateurs doing it for fun. I guess that’s what the focus of the Reel Youth Film Festival is: more concerned about getting out their voice or creativity rather than the seriousness or professionalism of the craft.

The screening I saw Sunday evening was actually the World Premiere of the annual Reel Youth Film Festival. There will be one more showing at the VIFF on a Wednesday morning open for student groups. It will be showing at more locations to come and the Festival can act as a fundraiser for your community centre. If you’re interested in screenings or interested in showing it at a place you know, or even if you know a young filmmaker with dreams, just go to:

One last thing. That evening I went had a ballot for all to fill out. The ballot was asking the voter of their three favorite films and their favorite local film. I don’t know if they will be doing it again in their next showings but I had a chance to pick my favorites:

  1. More
  2. Crack
  3. Being Ernest
  • Fav Local: Too Old For Fairy Tales

The Reel Youth Film Festival is a good attraction at the VIFF. Who knows? Maybe one of the directors can make it big one day.


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