Spotlight shines on young filmmakers in Greenwich

March 24, 2019 GMT

GREENWICH — Young filmmakers will get a chance to show off their work behind the camera as the town hosts the eighth annual Greenwich Youth Film Festival.

The event will start at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Greenwich Library’s Cole Auditorium. Films will be screened, and prizes will be awarded in several categories, including most creative, social action, most experimental, best first year film student submission and best of festival.

“We wanted to give students an opportunity to express their ideas,” festival co-chair Bharti Chojar said Friday. “They can make this part of their portfolio.”

Chojar and her co-chair Meg McAuley Kaicher, president of the Greenwich Botanical Center, were impressed by the scope of the student films.

“What really stands out though is that these are students who are very much aware of their environmental situation and all that’s going on in the world,” Chojar said. “This is a great venue for them to promote their ideas and show their vision to the world.”

More than 50 films were submitted last month from high school students from Fairfield County and Westchester County. That includes films created by students at Greenwich Academy, Brunswick School and Sacred Heart Greenwich.

“This gives students an opportunity to make films in genres that are not only drama based,” Chojar said. “We want to allow them to make films for social action and honor them for creativity. Documentaries are submitted a lot, and we even have animation here, which is very exciting.”

The film festival has grown significantly since it began as a project of the Junior League of Greenwich. It is now run by the Greenwich Botanical Center as a component of the Fairchild Challenge STEAM program, which has been called a benchmark for exceptional STEM education and for empowering students to become the next generation of scientists.

The goal remains promoting filmmaking as a form of local environmental activism and a method for visual storytelling and using media tools among youth.

Actor and filmmaker Kabir Chopra, who created and starred in a series called “Swiped to Death” about online dating, will be a keynote speaker during the reception.

Chojar said she was looking forward to Chopra’s talk, saying those in attendance, particularly the young people, could learn a lot about the challenges of being a student and a filmmaker.

“It will be an inspirational talk for the students,” Chojar said.

Attendees can register online for the event at https://greenwichbotanicalcenter.org/event/greenwich-youth-film-festival-2019/. The winning films may be screened in June at the Greenwich Arts Council and the Greenwich Botanical Center.