Young moviemakers jumpstart their careers at Future Filmmakers, a program hosted by arts nonprofit Film Independent in L.A.
Selected student short films will premiere at the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City on Aug. 9. The program also holds year-round opportunities including workshops, screenings, and visits from artists and filmmakers to provide students with industry resources.
As a Future Filmmakers Youth Curator, 16-year-old Alejandro Silva works to spread his love for cinema and further his knowledge in the field.
“I’m passionate about filmmaking because I see it as a way to tell a story. Instead of writing it, you can visually show it,” Silva said.
Silva learned how to critique films based on their cinematography, sound and plot. He betters his filmmaking techniques by understanding award-winning film qualifications and the effort that goes into moviemaking.
Silva said the program helps him become a better filmmaker since he’s surrounded by talented filmmakers from all across the globe from all age groups. As a youth curator, he ensures everyone has a different film to have a variety to showcase.
Sarah Berkovich, film education manager for youth and online programs at Film Independent, said it’s important to reach local youth and help them develop their talents.
“Having programs like this just creates entry points for young people to grow their appreciation of cinema, learn about how to tell stories through media and give them a platform to do that,” Berkovich said.
Her background in filmmaking and education have motivated her to believe in the increase in media production.
“Everyone has sort of unique points of view on the world,” Berkovich said. “Young people have different perspectives and it’s amazing to see them sharing that through media.”
Caitlyn Phu, an 18-year-old filmmaker and Huntington Beach High School graduate, said she discovered her love for filmmaking as a child. She began as a narrative writer until she discovered film as a creative outlet in eighth grade.
She became involved in the Future Filmmakers program when she submitted one of her films to be featured at the film festival on Aug. 9 at ArcLight Culver City.
Phu and other selectees will be given the chance to show their films, talk about their process and meet professionals and other young filmmakers.
Her short film “Durian” is about a first generation Asian teenager growing up in America and how she explores her identity while feeling distanced from both her Asian and American cultures.
“This is definitely the most personal and intimate film I’ve ever made,” Phu said.
Phu said that writing this short film started out more like a journal since she was writing about her own experiences as a first generation teenager growing up in Southern California.
“I was using film and screenwriting as an outlet to digest what I was going through,” Phu said. “Even though in reality I’ve been writing this script for a few months, it kind of felt like I spent my whole life writing it.”
She said the program has given her the confidence to put herself out there in an industry that is very difficult to get involved with, especially in the early stages of your career.
“As a young filmmaker, it’s even harder to get your voice out there,” Phu said. “We have the chance to improve ourselves as both filmmakers within a creative sense and a professional sense.”
The Future Filmmakers program has been able to open the door to many young and independent filmmakers to network and make and show their films.
Phu said she believes that independent filmmaking is such an important aspect of the film industry, which is why she’s so excited that his program is able to highlight independent filmmakers.
“Independent films really give a voice to smaller filmmakers who don’t already have a voice,” Phu said. “I’d say in terms of films that show the most diverse perspectives, they come from the independent film community.
Reliability is what makes films so great to audiences and Phu said this is why it’s so important that young people have become involved in filmmaking.
“The film program has been really great in curating a diverse bunch of films that are still able to collectively show what young filmmakers have to offer,” Phu said.
The Future Filmmakers program gives young artists the chance to express themselves through a platform that they’re passionate about and to provide their perspectives and experiences in the world.
“Film is basically what helped me figure out what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do,” Phu said. “It can act like a megaphone for your voice.”