Impressed at the Bresee Youth Film Festival

Award-winning young filmmakers at tonight's Youth Film Festival

I checked out the Youth Film Festival tonight hosted by the Bresee Foundation, which is located at the south end of the block where eco-village is. The festival was the 6th Annual Youth Film Festival on Social Justice. It featured 42 short films created by youth ages 14-19. The theme was Unhealthy L.A.? Is Los Angeles a healthy or unhealthy city for youth? 

Pre-festival reception at the Bimini Slough park

The festival started with a reception dinner in Bresee’s Bimini Slough Ecology Park. The turn out was huge – I think it’s the most people I’ve ever seen in the park. After the dinner, attendees split up into four screening rooms and each room showed selections of 12-15 youth films. The films I got to see covered various themes from immigration to healthy food to smoking to asthma – and more.

Quite a few shorts were very good, but I was most impressed by two pieces:

Wise Choice by Gabriel Salazar – an animated short (seemed autobiographical) parable about one skateboarder who refuses drugs offered to him, and is later very happy with his choice. The animation was very cool and down-to-earth – drawings on lined paper.

Jumpers United by Fredy Ortiz – a beautiful piece with great interviews and dance footage of Los Angeles Hard Jumperz – a very powerful, fierce and fun jumpstyle dance crew that reminded me a little of capoeira circle. Below is a similar video I found online – not exactly the one shown tonight, but the same dancers and I think some of the footage used. Awesome stuff. (More vid at L.A. Hard Jumperz Vimeo and Youtube channels.)

After the screenings, Bresee leaders and keynote speaker Pedro Joel Espinosa awarded prizes to the top 42 filmmakers – out of a total of 60 films submitted. Friends and family celebrated together. I had a great time, and look forward to what these creative youth come up with next.

Thanks to event sponsors: HBO, Ernst & Young, Rick Feldman, and Cornerstone Project – and to all the great folks at Bresee – especially Seth and Jerold!

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