Metro

Children’s film festival showcases young voices, themes

This year’s program first to showcase work of young filmmakers in screening and panel

By
Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

“I’m not actually a bully, but I hope I did a convincing job,” said one of the young actors from the short film “Robot and Boy” during a question-and-answer session Sunday at the Providence Children’s Film Festival.

For the first time, the annual festival included an official program featuring short films made by children under 18, both independently and through PCFF workshops, said Mike Russo, program moderator, filmmaker and educator.

“Young people are the most exciting to work with,” Russo said, adding that it is “fun and empowering” for him to “offer access and opportunities” to child filmmakers.

The show included a screening and panel in the Rhode Island School of Design Museum’s Metcalf Auditorium Sunday, as part of the 10-day-long PCFF, which began Feb. 13. Children, families and adults filled the auditorium quickly, and the free event reached capacity.

The films varied in “level of polished-ness,” said Anisa Raoof, executive director of the festival, adding that the festival aims to create a film experience that extends beyond watching the movies through exposing audience members to the craft and process of filmmaking. The youth show “really speaks to our mission of providing an opportunity for children to learn about film and storytelling,” Raoof said.

The PCFF was launched five years ago by a group of parents who wanted an alternative source of quality independent films for their families, Raoof said. “Since then, we’ve grown every year,” she added.

The show included films as long as 24 minutes and as short as one minute. “Robot and Boy” was the longest film screened and garnered much of the program’s attention. The film was directed by youth filmmakers Dylan and Ethan Itkin.

The film was partly inspired by movies such as “E.T.,” the Itkin brothers said during the question-and-answer session. “Robot and Boy” utilizes green-screen technology and features the story of a bullied kid who meets and befriends a robot boy from another planet.

“Bad Day,” an almost entirely silent 19-minute film directed by Salome Tkebuchava, was another standout. The film aims to send a message to its audience about the value of musicians in society, Tkebuchava said during the panel.

“Anyone can film,” Tkebuchava said when asked to offer advice for other young filmmakers.

Shorter films included director Cameron Harrington’s “The Golf Story: A Short Film,” which uses advanced editing techniques to portray the exciting journey of a golf ball after it is hit, and “Cat Power,” from the Reel Grrls Workshop — a nonprofit initiative in Seattle aimed at teaching filmmaking and leadership skills to girls ages 9 to 19 — which explores gender roles.

The Youth Filmmaker Show was part of the programming for the final day of the 2014 PCFF, and the festival committee plans to continue events throughout the year, Raoof wrote in an email to The Herald.

 

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