It is true to say that Adelaide is the city of festivals, being home to some of the biggest festivals in the southern hemisphere. Last week saw the addition of yet another festival to the mix, the inaugural Adelaide International Youth Film Festival (previously Adelaide Kids Film Festival), and what an amazing addition it was.
Take a group of youth from around the globe, add a bunch of incredible films produced by young and old, from near and far. Then add a dash of discussion and debate, mix it up and cue an awe-inspiring event that will be remembered for years to come.
The week began with flips, jumps and gravity-defying parkour moves performed by Point A and a hip-hop performance by Flava Dance Studios and the spirit of Uplift and love of film grew exponentially from there. Besides from the films, there was also incredible workshops for all to participate in. These included disappearing beneath scarves of green at the Green Screen workshop, creating a 3D virtual space at the virtual reality booth or having fake bruises and wounds up by the incredibly talented Special Effects Makeup team. These workshops converted even the biggest film sceptic a spark of curiosity and love for the film industry.
The workshop that was the highlight for me, was the Anifex workshop. Where we got to meet the animation characters Roger and Dorothy who definitely “Go wacko for Schmackos”!
For the duration of the festival thousands of school children and general public from around Adelaide flooded in to watch, discuss and vote on films produced for and by their age brackets 5-13 years old 13-18 years old and 18-25 years old. With the festivals core theme being Uplift, a large number of the films, particularly in the older age brackets, tackled some of the more controversial and challenging topics currently facing our society.
The provoked thought and insight that both the Youth Jury, (which was made up of 20 youth from around Australia and internationally, from places like Port Lincoln, to as far as Italy and USA) and the general audience, provided from each of the films was inspiring to watch and listen to. A special mention does go to some of the very young audience members, as mentioned some of these as young as five years old, for some of their entertaining feedback and voting.
AIYFF also inspired the Short Film Worx initiative, sponsored by the Adelaide Council. Three teams, three scripts, six weeks, equals three thought-provoking and heart-pulling films that showed the genuine quality of the up and coming filmmakers amongst Adelaide’s youth.
While the entire week was fantastic, the highlight of the event was hands down the opening night film, Zach’s Ceremony (cue hands raised in agreeance from anyone who was present)! Aunty Georgina opened the session with a Welcome to Country that resounded through the audience and set the scene for the film. In my opinion, this film is worthy of international accolades and should be a permanent staple in the curriculum of ALL Australian schools.
As a young Australian who grew up in rural communities surrounded by the Ngarigo people, this film opened my eyes, shedding a whole new light on Indigenous culture and history from a completely different point of view. While the word documentary can be one of dreaded boredom in some circumstances, it couldn’t be any further from the truth with this film, keeping me engaged both mentally and emotionally the entire time. The relatability to the experiences and people within the story had every single person in the theatre on a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish and left us all feeling a sense of connection to Zach, which was evident when he came to accept the award at the closing ceremony.
It truly is a MUST watch for every single Australian in order to understand not only the Indigenous culture but also our nation's culture and history as a whole.
A huge round of applause goes to Chloe Gardner, Artistic Director and CEO who orchestrated the success of the event alongside an awesome team, volunteers and board members. The festival was a huge success and definitely one to put in the diary for 2018 as not to be missed!
To see more about the Adelaide International Youth Film Festival - check out their website https://www.aiyff.com.au/
Or see their Facebook page: