By Ben Harrison
The 10th annual ViewFinders: International Film Festival for Youth kicks off next month, with many new events being added to the lineup.
Jason Beaudry, director of ViewFinders, is excited for a new event taking place at the Discovery Centre.
“We’re going to preview the festival on April 10 with the ViewFinders Expo at the Discovery Centre,” says Beaudry.
“We want to reach out into the community and bring in some hands-on activities that young people can participate in.”
ViewFinders is the only youth film festival in Atlantic Canada. The festival gives young filmmakers the opportunity to produce and screen films for an international audience.
Other new events include daily screenings of previous award-winning ViewFinders films made by Canadian youth, a day of programming in French and a panel focusing on two international films about Asperger’s syndrome.
Beaudry says that the festival wants to acknowledge its roots while looking ahead on an international scale.
“It’s not so much about what ViewFinders as a festival has accomplished, but the ‘ViewFinders’ in our name. They’re the people who participate. We want to highlight what they’ve accomplished and where they are going,” says Beaudry.
“ViewFinders has built a reputation with our audience in a unique way, in the way we speak to our audience. We speak with young people, rather than at them. We’ve gone around the world looking for films to speak with audiences, to build this engagement.”
One way ViewFinders looks ahead to the future of youth filmmaking is through the Film Challenge contests.
Filmmakers under 18 years-old can enter one of three categories: Animation Challenge, Movie Challenge or Green Screen Challenge. Winners of the Film Challenge contest receive a full scholarship to the One Minute Film program, part of the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative.
Last year’s winner of the Movie Challenge, Will Kellerman, is already working on his next short film. Kellerman says Viewfinders gave him the support he needed to make movies, thanks to the scholarship program.
“ViewFinders gave me the scholarship to work with the Cooperative. Next thing you know, I’m making a silent noir film on a 16 mm camera,” says Kellerman. “They gave me this incredible opportunity and supported me all the way.”
Kellerman’s film, The Right Thing to Say, will be playing at ViewFinders this year as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations.
Kellerman hopes to make feature films that will reach out to an audience, and says he is inspired by human connections through dialogue and image when he makes movies.
“I really like studying and seeing how people act around different people, that inspires ideas…If I hear about something in the news, or through word of mouth, that inspires me,” says Kellerman.
Here’s Will Kellerman at work on his new film. He also talks about his experience in the 1-Minute Film program: