Reflections On Youth Media Fest

Reflections On Youth Media Fest

Cinevolution Media Arts Society is all about connecting people in the Lower Mainland to new ideas and forms of media arts through different community and artist programs. This summer, Cinevolution had the opportunity to create an event–the Richmond Youth Media Fest–as part of the Richmond World Festival that would introduce the public to film and new media arts, alongside our annual Digital Carnival event.

We began to develop the event, wanting to show the future of media to the public. We thought the best way to show the future, was to focus on youth – the future of the world. We recruited Angelica Pohveherskie as a recent secondary school graduate, who is a talented artists herself, to help plan parts of the day. As a young person myself, the Richmond Youth Media Festival was quickly becoming a program created by youth for youth.

We planned three separate components to the festival: a youth film screening, two workshops, and an interactive showcase. All components centered on the idea of presenting intriguing and challenging new media works to the public.

The first component of the festival we planned was the youth film screening. Here, we showcased boundary-pushing films by filmmakers under 20 years old from all around the world. We opened up submissions and received over 650 films for consideration. To sift through all these submissions and find the best of the best, we comprised two separate juries: a youth jury, and a professional jury.

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The youth jury watched a large portion of the films and gave feedback on which were the most evocative and interesting. The members were selected for their enthusiasm for new art forms, and were all under 20 themselves. Their scores were compiled, and the top scoring films were sent on to the professional jury. The professional jury was comprised of local experts in film and new media arts, including: film programmers, film theorists, film university professors, and up¬and¬coming filmmakers. They watched the films that the youth jury deemed the best and narrowed it down to one hour of unique, youth¬made content, along with choosing the award winning films.

The film screening went over well, challenging and spiking the curiosity of the audience members. Two awards were given: The Vanguard Award and The Impact Award. The first was rewarded to local youth filmmaker Riley O’Neill for his film Untitled 2 based on the film’s evocative exploration of cinema. The second award was given to filmmaker Annechien Strouven from Sweden for her film Louisa for its cultural and social impact through its timely message.

At the end of the screening, audience members were able to hear both filmmakers – one in person, and one via skype – discuss their filmmaking practices and processes. It was so wonderful to be able to put on a screening filled with experimental and exciting films like this, especially by youth filmmakers.

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The second component of the event was two hands-on workshops that enabled the public to learn about new artforms in a creative environment. We wanted to be able to introduce different artforms to people in an accessible way – showcasing that everyone has a creative side.

The first session was the Scratch Animation workshop taught by Sepideh Saii Young, a local experimental filmmaker. Here, participants learned about the physical medium of celluloid film and potential new futures for the format by painting, drawing and scratching onto to film. There short animations were then projected, seeing their drawings come to life. The films were later screened during the Your Kontinent Digital Carnival later that evening alongside many professional new media artists.

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The other workshop was the Live VJ-ing workshop with Brady Marks. Here, students learned about video¬jocking, a new artform popular in art scenes and live performance venues, by a local new media artist. Marks introduced participants to new ways of thinking about image making, and new technological ways of manipulating those images. Participants got to make their very own VJ session, and perform in front of their peers.

The final component of the event was the exciting Evolution of Media interactive showcase. This exhibition, in partnership with the Richmond Museum, asked viewers the tough question: “what is media?” and then present possible answers through both past and future examples of media.

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Participants could walk through the past pathway and explore the history of media – seeing such artifacts as a century old printing presses, the original Macintosh computer, or ancient calligraphy sets. Then they could explore the future pathway, interacting with new forms of media. This include four stations: visual media, audio media, written word media, and digital media. Each station included an interactive element, and challenged viewers with their current definition of media, and create their own media elements. With this showcase, we wanted to introduce the public to the potential futures of media making, including the arts, journalism, and mass culture.

The Richmond Youth Media Festival was an accessible and unique experience for all members of the public to delve into new forms of boundary¬pushing media. We wanted to expose people to new artforms they otherwise might not have seen – challenging their perceptions of film and new media. This festival meant a lot to us, as we believe that everyone should have access to all forms of art – new media and film art being especially inaccessible based on technological necessities. We received a lot of positive feedback about the event, and are extremely proud to have put on such a rare and thought-provoking festival.