Reel voice for Whistler youth 

Reel Youth Film Festival screens Whistler claymation films

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What: Reel Youth Film Festival

When: Friday, May 12

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $15/$8

When thinking of topics of interest to youth, sports, relationships, music and maybe even education might fall under the teen radar.

However, when two dozen Whistler youth decided on topics for two claymation films, environment and the 2010 Olympic Games were at the forefront of their minds.

The two Whistler films will be showcased with 18 other youth-produced films in the first annual touring show for the Reel Youth Film Festival, stopping in Whistler Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at MY Millennium Place and in Squamish Friday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Eye Theatre.

"It was interesting to see the (Whistler) kids were into the more environmental side of things," said festival organizer Erica Kohn. "One was about humans’ interaction with nature and how humans seek to tame everything. The other was about the Olympics: showing the clearing of trees making way for the Games and what happens after the Olympics is gone."

Youth don’t always get a chance to publicly voice their opinions, ideas and ideals. The festival sought a way to give them that voice.

"The festival is a place for them to be heard," Kohn said. "It is a place to celebrate youth culture and express themselves."

More than 200 films were submitted by youth, primarily from B.C.’s west coast. Instead of the film industry judging films, youth evaluated more than 200 submissions, choosing 20 films per show.

The Vancouver-based festival reached out to a broader filmmaking community this year by taking the event on the road to more than 11 communities.

"We really want to express the diversity of B.C. youth," Kohn said. "We’ve got amazing things coming out of these smaller communities. They all have their own culture and it is great to be able to share that throughout the communities."

Whistler’s claymation films were built during a Reel Youth workshop hosted during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

"We are throwing the idea around of getting more involved with the festival," Kohn said. "So many things in it have such an arts focus. We want to bring a youth element to it. It can be a place where youth can express creativity and get recognized for it in an international forum."

At the end of the 20-film screening, produced by students aged 7 to 19 years old, a panel of local youth filmmakers will talk about their filmmaking process.

Audience members will vote for Best Local Film for the evening as well as festival favourites in various categories overall.

Admission is by donation with a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $8 for youth.

For more information, visit www.reelyouth.ca.

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