Young media makers get ready to learn media literacy.
After a career making my own documentaries, in 2011 I became senior staff at FC, joining Laura Azevedo, our associate director and also a filmmaker. In the summer of 2012 we had a retreat with our board of directors to talk about changes in our industry and how we might address them. The changes are dramatic. Media has moved online, with new models of funding, production and distribution. Filmmakers are getting younger and younger. Cheap digital tools make it at least theoretically possible for anyone to be a filmmaker. Kids are inundated, spending upwards of 8 hours/day on digital media; on YouTube alone there are over 8 years of content available at the click of a mouse. Media literacy and skills are clearly essential for anyone growing up in the 21st century. As a group of professional filmmakers, we thought that FC could help, by offering essential media skills from an experiential perspective. Thus the Boston International Kids Film Festival was born.
Our aim is to help kids learn how to use media so that it doesn’t use them, and to empower them to tell their own stories through the positive use of visual media. We want to inspire them with thought-provoking films, and give them opportunities to learn from media industry professionals. Eventually we want to create a year-long initiative that culminates every November with the festival.
As co-directors, one of the first issues that Laura and I had to decide was what “kids” were. We settled on ages 10 and up because there are so many great films made for this demographic, and because kids this age can readily interact with workshop leaders.