Lights, camera, action: Westport Youth Film Festival rolls Saturday
Published 9:11 am, Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Young filmmakers from far and near will descend upon Bridgeport's Bijou Theatre on Saturday, June 2, as the Westport Arts Center conducts its ninth annual Westport Youth Film Festival. The event is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in and near the theater, 275 Fairfield Ave.
The festival, having grown steadily since its 2003 founding by then-Westport teenagers David Burstein, Chris Casey and Emma Wiseman, will screen 75 films by teen filmmakers. Last year's event, which took place at the Community Theatre in Fairfield, had 50 screenings of films by youths from as far away as Egypt, with one kid as young as 12 years old.
The event will give awards in seven categories, from experimental to drama, as well as Audience Choice and Best in Connecticut awards, according to a release from the center.
Each category winner will receive a $200 award donated by Broadcast Film Critics Association and general supporters. The winner of the social action category will receive a special award of $500.
The competing films were chosen from over 200 submissions worldwide, from as close as Fairfield County to as distant as Israel.
The films will be judged by four film experts, including Missy Papageorge-Sonnenfield, a Westport native who co-founded Santa Monica, Calif.-based production firm Company 3. She will serve as the judge for the experimental films category.
Other judges will include Tim Finn, animation judge who teaches animation and animation history at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University; Tom Caldarone, music video judge who is former head of MTV and current president of VH1; and Roxana Walker-Canton, social action judge who has worked on numerous documentary films.
The festival will include several other events throughout the day within one block of the screenings.
At noon, Two Boots Pizza, an eatery next door to the theater, will offer food and a screening of the Civic Life Project Films, a program "fostering civic participation" through documentary films made by high school students, the release states.
The WYFF Lab, a half of a block down the street from the theater in a vacant storefront at 295 Fairfield Ave., will host a series of workshops, including Film-Painting for Kids at 10 a.m., Direct Filmmaking at noon, and Human Stop Motion Puppets at 2:30 p.m.
The lab also will host a panel discussion on the Startup Film Generation Panel at 5:15 p.m., led by founders Casey and Burnstein, and documentary filmmaker Brean Cunningham. A second panel discussion, titled "It's Never Whatever," led by filmmaker Jay Miles, will take place at 6:30 p.m.
Another vacant storefront, at 303 Fairfield Ave., will house a WYFF Pop-Up Shop offering T-shirt screen-printing workshops and a Melt Market and Cafe, a lounge where filmmakers and movie buffs can discuss the festival selection.
To entertain passers-by, Bijou Square will host live bands all day, including Borrowed Glory, Chillingsworth, Cheeky, Clay Garner and other popular teen artists.
The night will end with the awards ceremony at 8:15 p.m., which will award the best of each film category.
Festival passes are available for $10 for students, $25 for adults at www.westportartscenter.org. They will also be available at the festival for an extra $5.