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Via Lux Film Fest highlights the creative work of young Philadelphia filmmakers

October 3, 2019 Category: FeaturedMediumPurpose
Via lux means means “street light,” according to Amanda Smith, a founding member of the Via Lux Film Fest. “Our goal for the film fest is to put a spotlight on young filmmakers, amplify their voices, and expose them to a broader audience.”

On October 4, those voices will be showcased at the Philadelphia Film Center for the first time, thanks to Big Picture Alliance, the Philadelphia nonprofit that uses digital filmmaking to engage youth and empower them to define their own narratives.

“[This is] a film fest created by and for young filmmakers,” said Aleks Martray, the executive director of the organization. “In its first year it will feature 15 short films representing the work of over 200 young filmmakers ages 10-21 from BPA programs across Philly.”

Among the films to be spotlighted in the film fest on Friday, is the five-minute film In a New Light by Theo Wyss-Flamm, in which the protagonist, Jeremy, discovers a new side of his older brother during a house party. The frightening discovery throws the siblings’ relationship into “a whirlwind of emotion and confusion.”

Still from the film “In a New Light” by Theo Wyss-Flamm. (Courtesy photo)

In another five-minute film, Dear Life: According to Me by Jasmin Carter, the narrative centers on a-day-in-the-life of its main character, “a quirky girl who is forced to grow up fast due to society’s expectations.”

Young creatives from Via Lux Teen Media Collective, Delphi Summer Teen Media Program, OIC Workforce Academy, YouthBuild Charter, Salvation Army and Harambee Institute were involved in making the films.

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“Annually we serve over 200 youth through a pathway of school, summer, and workforce digital filmmaking programs across Philadelphia,” Martray told Generocity via email. “The Via Lux Teen Media Collective was formed by our youth alumni and mentors from these programs as a creative community dedicated to producing collaborative films about important stories shaping the lives of young people.”

BPA’s programs bring professional filmmakers into classrooms and communities to teach collaborative filmmaking from script to screen. The programs give those young people the tools to tell their stories and to explore possible careers in film and media.

“The goal is to cultivate a community of young artists, leaders and professionals who use their art to advocate for themselves and engage the public in dialogue towards positive change,” Martray said.

The inaugural Via Lux Film Fest will kick-off with a Young Creatives Mixer at 5:30 p.m. where youth can connect with each other and with industry professionals, followed by the screening and Q&A from 6 to 8 p.m.

“We hope to grow this event each year ,” Martray said, “to engage more youth and members of Philadelphia’s creative community to celebrate and support young filmmakers.”

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