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Film Challenge Helps Nurture Talent

3 August 2006

Film Challenge Helps Nurture Talent


Organisers and judges of a contest for young filmmakers are amazed at both the quantity and quality of the work submitted.

A record 17 films have been entered into Youthtown's third annual Short Film Challenge, more than double the number submitted last year.

All entries are to be shown at a special premier evening, to be held at the Academy Cinema in Lorne Street on Monday 7th August.

The event will also include a celebratory 'Oscar-style' award ceremony, for the winners of categories including 'Best Film', 'Best Director', 'Best Cinematographer', 'Best Actor' and 'Best Script', as well as for the best use of a prescribed line of dialogue: "You said that's all".

To be eligible for entry into the challenge, films needed to be between 4 and 15 minutes in length, to be the work of people aged between 13 and 18 and to be specifically made for the contest.

"Making a film involves considerable time, effort and commitment. It's fantastic to have 17 separate groups of young people, from all over Auckland, showing so much creativity and so much determination," says Youthtown's Youth Coordinator, Rebecca Duell.

"Even more impressive is the quality of the films and the range of styles and themes our filmmakers have tackled," she adds.

For the second year running, participants in the Short Film Challenge have been able to learn some of the basics of filmmaking through a series of eight weekly workshops organised by Youthtown. Most of this year's entries were made by people taking part in either the 2005 or the 2006 workshop series.

Their work is being judged by a trio of experienced figures from the worlds of film, theatre and television, including the Marketing Director of the Southseas Film, Television and Animation School, Ian Kingsford-Smith, actor and director Mark Clare and documentary maker Chas Toogood.

Ian Kingsford-Smith describes this year's films as highly impressive, given the youth of the people who made them.

"Some of the films are quite outstanding in their use of music, direction, story-telling and acting. I was particularly struck by the non-linear approach used by some of them, with the story told by weaving between past, present and future.

"There is also a wide variety of genres, including drama and comedy, as well as the kind of action films that teenagers tend to like. It's particularly difficult to tell a story through comedy and it was good to see those who tried succeeding.

"Youthtown has every reason to be pleased with what this contest is achieving. It's helping to nurture highly talented young people, some of whom will undoubtedly make careers for themselves in the film and television industries, "he says.

Mr Kingsford-Smith adds that the Southseas School is to offer a free place on one of its week-long film and television introductory courses to the winner of the Short Film Challenge's "Best Director" award.

The winner of the 'Best Film' award is to receive a Sony Mini DV Handycam, donated by 'The Appliance Shed'.

Youthtown is a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to help young people express themselves, develop skills and build self-esteem in safe, open and stimulating environments.


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