an awe-inspiring night: Emergencia’s Film Festival

Last night I attended the 2010 Emergencia Youth Film Competition at the Mexican American Cultural Center and had a wonderful time. The festival showcased 15 short films in all, created by youth 19 years of age or younger. The films were insightful and the level of talent was amazing. For those of you who could not attend the festival, I want to provide a brief rundown on some of the films showcased last night and the organizations that provided the space and tools to nurture these teens’ creative talents.

1. Founded in 1991 Global Action Project provides media arts education for youth living in underserved communities in New York City. According to their site their mission is to “work with young people most affected by injustice to build the knowledge, tools, and relationships needed to create media for community power, cultural expression, and political change.” You can view countless videos by Global Action Project teens via their youtube channel. Last night’s festival showcased 2 films from Global Action Project:

America’s Next Top Immigrant, directed by Chrystian Rodriguez, 2009

No Safe Place, also directed by Chrystian Rodriguez, 2009

2. Real to Reel RAW Art Works is an organization dedicated to teaching youth how to “creative and constructively approach the art of visual storytelling.” The program offers basic and advanced courses for students and provides a medium for youth to explore their identities and examine the role of popular media in society. Real to Reel has a youtube channel as well. Last night Real to Reel offered 3 films, here is one of them:

A crecer como una persona (To grow as a person), directed by Bryan De Leon, 2009

3. Longhouse Media is an organization that “supports the growth and expression of Indigenous youth through digital media making.” Based in Seattle, Washington Longhouse Media promotes cultural preservation and advocates for social change by making media skills and technology available to youth. You can view videos by youth associated with Longhouse Media at their youtube channel. The short film showcased last night was the following:

My World, directed by Zane Stearman, Daniel Riggins, Micheal Hood, Shana Lombard, Michelle Lombard, and Christy Foster, 2009

4. There was one short film last night from the organization Outta Your Backpack Media. This organization empowers indigenous youth by offering free filmmaking workshops and assisting with distribution. The interesting part about Outta Your Backpack Media is what the name suggests – the organization distributes “fully equipped decentralized media centers in backpacks.” The backpacks are solar-powered, made from recycled soda bottles, and contain the necessary tools for youth to shoot and edit a film. Again thanks to new media you can view other Outta Your Backpack Media films on youtube. Here is a trailer for the Outta Your Backpack Media film shown last night:

In the Footsteps of Yellow Woman, directed by Camille Manybeads Tso, 2009

5. SAY Sí (San Antonio Youth Yes) provided the bulk of the screenings last night showcasing 7 films from the San Antonio based organization. SAY Sí serves San Antonio’s youth by offering year round multi-media workshops and programs. Moreover, the organization assists youth in developing their artistic and interpersonal skills in preparation for professional careers in media and the arts. The films showcased last night originated with SAY Sí’s Media Arts Studio. SAY Sí has additional videos on their youtube channel. Here are 2 films that were screened at last night’s festival:

Alex Rubio, directed by Sergio Ramos and Emileigh Potter, 2009

And here is a trailer for one of the strongest films shown last night, Skye, directed by Yoomi Park, 2009

Yoomi Park was actually in attendance last night at the festival. She discussed how every year SAY Sí picks one screenplay as the strongest from the program and everyone assists making that screenplay into a film. Park talked about how lucky she felt that her and Olivia Hinojosa’s screenplay was chosen, and how the film was shot the film over 10 days during one of San Antonio’s hottest summers. She also discussed how programs like SAY Sí make the impossible seem possible. Prior to enrolling in the program, Park had never considered filmmaking as a viable career option, and now she is enrolled in the Radio-Television-Film’s filmmaking program at the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow Yoomi Park on twitter and view some of her other short films on Vimeo. As an added bonus here is the site for Julia Babin, the actress who gives a wonderful performance as Skye.

Overall, the festival was invigorating! To see youth, especially youth who are underrepresented in popular media, take control and create their own short films, their own images, their narratives is awe-inspiring. Moreover, the fact that many of the young filmmakers connected their visions to broader social issues such as xenophobia, homophobia, and racism reaffirms my views that today’s youth are as political and politically aware as ever. The youth of today are speaking out against social injustices, you just have to be ready and willing to experience their points of view.

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~ by actyourage09 on April 23, 2010.

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