Choosing a career path can be a daunting task and beginning a new career is hard work. However, there are steps that can help guide one’s way. These include learning how an industry works, making key contacts and gaining all sorts of valuable experiences that you just can’t get in a classroom. If you’re a young person between 18 and 30 years of age living in the Greater Toronto and Southern Ontario area, and is considering a career in film making, visit the Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival (TYSFF) taking place on August 8th at Innis Town Hall.
Celebrating its seventh year, TYSFF is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit festival where young and aspiring film makers from the GTA have the chance to share their short films with the public and representatives from the film industry. A jury will provide their input into this year’s films and Industry Choice Awards will be handed out by young media and entertainment professionals. For a complete list of film screenings, click on: http://www.torontoyouthshorts.ca/film-selection.html
This year’s festival is split up into two different programs or themes: “Who We Are” and “What We Were, What We Will Be”. For a quick glimpse into TYSFF, view their promo clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DolA6ab6gw
Short Film Fan caught up with Julia Crocco, one of three TYSFF film programmers, to learn more about the festival, as well as what the audience and film makers can expect there.
Short Film Fan: Why were the themes “Who We Are” and “What We Were, What We Will Be” chosen for this year’s festival?
Julia Crocco: These themes were chosen by myself and the programming team (Paul Krumholz, Sia Mehilli and festival director Henry Wong) based on the unifying messages we discovered running through the diverse range of selected films. “Who We Are’” is a program centered on strong female characters. This theme was chosen because many of the shorts told empowering stories of young women defying gender barriers and we wanted to highlight this by dedicating a program to it.
The program “What We Were, What We Will Be” focuses on letting go of past struggles, and channeling that energy into a brighter future. We found that a number of our selections, despite their varying genres, conveyed the importance of making life-altering decisions based on past mistakes. It is interesting to see this theme manifest itself in different ways: from a dystopian sci-fi film to a teen comedy.
SFF: What is the age range of the film makers at the festival? Do you receive films from a particular age group more than others?
JC: The festival accepts submissions from anyone under the age of 30 in the Greater Toronto and Southern Ontario. We often receive more films from the age range of 18 to 30; usually from college or university film students or those getting their start in the industry. We put a lot of effort into encouraging high school students to submit their films, as our goal is to celebrate all young artists. We were pleased to receive more high school submissions this year than in previous years and we hope that this trend will continue to grow!
SFF: You will be showing 30 shorts films this year. How difficult was it to choose this year’s featured films?
JC: We found it very difficult to narrow our selection down to 30 films. This year, we received more than 100 submissions and we were blown away by the quality of a great deal of them! We thought it would be best to have just two programs this year, so we had to make some difficult decisions in order to do so. There were a good number of films that we were impressed with, but had to let them go due to time constraints or lack of cohesiveness with the other films. However, we are very happy with our selection and excited to showcase it!
SFF: What thoughts or feelings do you hope the audience members will take away from the festival after viewing these short films?
JC: This year’s collection of films convey relatable themes from various perspectives: a teenage girl tired of unwanted attention, a father struggling with guilt, and a young woman trying to escape a war while keeping her humanity, to name a few. I hope that the audience will identify with these characters and stories and gain insight into the challenges that people of all walks of life face.
SFF: What experiences do you hope the film makers will take away from the festival?
JC: I hope that the film makers will take away the experience of having their work showcased for an audience to enjoy and that they will appreciate the valuable feedback that our jury of industry professionals will provide for them. Toronto Youth Shorts provides young film makers the chance to see what it will be like to work in the film industry and navigate film festivals. I hope that their experience with Toronto Youth Shorts will bring the film makers close to their aspirations!
This definitely sounds like an excellent opportunity for young Canadian film makers to get their feet in the door of the industry. Even if you aren’t aged 18 to 30, don’t miss this chance to see future Canadian film making professionals show off their talents and skills in short film production. We wish everyone at Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival all the best for a successful and fun festival. For up-to-date information on what’s happening, you can ‘like’ them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter: @