In February, we put out our open call for shorts from under-30, GTA-based filmmakers—but our work was just getting started. Throughout the spring, TYS sent representatives to nearly every high school, college and university student film showcase around the GTA. For every one film submitted, we saw another three or four. Each event had such a large pool of content that were so strong, we were constantly regrouping to discuss it. We looked for common threads, overarching themes etc. In our downtime, we scoured Vimeo and Youtube, reaching out to young filmmakers outside the academic stream. Perhaps most importantly, the work done by TYS staffers in years past continued to pay off. Many of our submissions came from filmmakers whose work we've showcased or considered before, and the growing strength of the TYS reputation helped us reach new eyeballs.
One of the luxuries of programming a film festival in 2015 is that we didn't touch a single DVD, thanks to the wonders of online submission portals. Technology blessed us in other ways, as well: the ubiquity of HD cameras and professional editing software meant that the production values of our submissions often rivaled those of professional films, allowing filmmakers' talent and vision to come through that much more clearly. And, they certainly delivered on that potential. A number of the selections you'll see on August 8 are BIG films despite their length. From sci-fi epics to animation, the films showcase an incredible amount of ambition, both within and beyond familiar genres. On the human drama and documentary side, our selections for this year contribute meaningfully to some of the most important discourses in 2015. Spoiler alert: we think you'll find these films very relevant.
Lastly, a note about the filmmakers themselves: in a place as diverse as Toronto, it was important to us to present work from as many voices as possible. But, the filmmakers made that job easy. We have stories and perspectives from around the world and around the city, all with one thing in common: they're Toronto Youth Shorts. As for that celluloid ceiling? We think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
We can't wait to share these gems with you at the festival.