Our inaugural team is consists of Carri Chen, Christian Gnam, Avondale Nixon, and Meryl Allysa Romo. I had the pleasure of working with these wonderful film buffs in soliciting and programming our high school submissions. Thanks to their dedication, from attending numerous screenings to composing exceptional film notes, we were able to acquire and program some of the best high school films in the region. While reviewing the submissions, I was very impressed with the level of sophistication that these high school filmmakers brought to the table. Wonderful writing, excellent comedic timing, beautiful costumes, and polished cinematography are only some of the great things you can expect from the high school films showcasing at the festival this year. It is inspiring to see the immense talent and drive that these young filmmakers have, which is why we want to showcase their work to our audiences.
My favorite part of working with the Junior Programmers was gaining insight on the unique perspectives they provided on all the films, including the ones made from university or college film schools and community-based non-academic pieces. Each programmer shed light on a different aspect of their favorite shorts that allowed the rest of the team to appreciate upon second viewings of these films. The level of detail with which they analyzed each film, from character design and story to the technical aspects of film and their personal emotional responses to each piece, made for very insightful programming discussions, and provided this year's festival with a well-rounded youth voice.
The Junior Programming team and I curated Expect the Unexpected and though the majority of the team are from high school, the program is anything but child-like. Films will touch on domestic violence, sexual abuse, racial tensions, stereotypes, and mental illness. Watching some of these films and choosing to program them for a youth audiences requires an innate sense of maturity and I must give kudos to the junior programming team for that. We chose these shorts because they use the power of film to express the unheard voices of society, and provide insight on these sensitive topics in ways that will resonate with the audience. We're excited to share with you some of the best of the best films made by youth and we hope you will enjoy them as much as we did.