The Westport Youth Film Festival has launched a fundraising drive to help curb costs -- both for young filmmakers and for movie buffs who attend the ninth annual festival in the spring.

The drive is being run entirely by student volunteers and uses the Internet -- including the festival's web sitre and several social-media sites -- as fundraising platforms. It continues through the end of January, the organization said in a news release.

One key site is kickstarter.com, a fundraising platform run entirely by students for creative-arts projects. Each organization creates its own web page, and the film festival produced a video for its page.

The 2011 festival drew a record 250 entries, which were whittled down to 50 films screened at Fairfield's Community Theatre in May. The 2012 event is planned at the Bijou Theater in Bridgeport.

With a new board of directors, the festival also is trying to expand it's reach to young filmmakers in Fairfield County and far beyond -- including efforts to attract more entries nationally and from foreign countries.

The organization's 16-student board is led by Evan Neidich, the festival director.

More Information

How to donate Visit: www.kickstarter.com and search for "WYFF" Call: 203-222-7070

The festival was founded in 2002 by three Weston students who were frustrated by the lack of opportunities for showcase student films. Since then, 2,000 entries have been received from across the nation and from Africa, Indonesia, Scandinavia and Israel.

It operates as a program of the Westport Arts Center.

At the 2011 festival, prizes were awarded an "Audience Choice Awarde: For best film, plus top films in six categories -- animation, comedy, drama, documentary, experimental, and music video.

"What makes Westport Youth Film Festival unique is that we not only showcase the art and voice of youth from all over the country and the world, but that local high school students are involved in every aspect of festival production," Neidich said in a news release.

For more information on the festival,visit: www.westportyouthfilmfest.org or call Evan Neidich at 203-222-7070 or email him at: evan@westportartscenter.org.