Westport Youth Film Festival soon to get under way

Matthew Silverman, a senior at Weston High School, is spending several weeks this spring in the Advocate newsroom in Stamford as part of an internship program. He has been working with a number of different departments, including the features staff. The following is his first posting to Culture Cache:

Teen filmmakers from across the state and the world will walk the red carpet on June 2 at the ninth annual Westport Youth Film Festival (WYFF). The event is led by local high school students, and features youth film submissions (see trailer above).

WYFF 2012, which will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., will take place at the Bijou Theatre in downtown Bridgeport, a change in scenery from last year’s festival, which was held at the Fairfield Community Theatre, in downtown Fairfield. The festival will feature local submissions, as well as films from as far away as England, Denmark and Israel. There will be three film blocks throughout the day, the last of which is appropriate for mature audiences only (not suggested for children under the age of 13 without parental guidance).

A lineup of industry experts will judge the 75 films to be screened at the festival. These judges include producer Missy Papageorge-Sonnenfield (Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland) and VH1 President Tom Caldarone.

Festival attendees have the option to participate in various film workshops held at the WYFF Lab and the WYFF Pop-Up Shop (see website link below for full map). Workshops include 16 mm film painting, direct filmmaking, which involves bleaching and coloring old recycled film footage, human stop-motion puppets and screen printing.

Industry professionals will speak on a number of panels throughout the day as well. In “The Startup Film Generation,” festival founders Chris Casey and David Burnstein will join Brean Cunningham for a talk about their experiences starting their own production companies. Producer, author and WYFF Judge Jay Miles will address the changing landscape of film technology in “It’s Never ‘Whatever.’” The Civic Life Project, an organization that promotes civic participation through the production of teen documentaries, has teamed with WYFF 2012 this year and will host a special screening during the festival.

Adult festival passes cost $25; youth passes are $10. For more information about the festival or tickets, visit the festival website.

Christina Hennessy