Variety Boys and Girls Club hosts its first international film festival
by Mark Garzon
Jun 05, 2018 | 15384 views | 0 0 comments | 1088 1088 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens hosted its first ever international film festival over the weekend.

The two-day event featured a screening and awards ceremony to celebrate the work of the students in the club's film and media arts program as they presented their short films alongside professional filmmakers.

The students, who learned various film techniques such as screenwriting, camera operation, and lighting, worked together and produced eight films under the guidance of Marc Lyons, the club's film and media arts specialist.

"I wanted the kids to have that professional experience, that festival experience," he said. "The opportunity for them to be able to explain themselves in a different way and show themselves in a new light."

Lyons explained his class, which consists of students between the ages of six and 14, took one to two days to complete the eight films. Throughout the process, the students took on different roles including directing, acting, script writing, and casting. In addition, they worked with professional equipment such as DSLRs, boom mics, and lights.

"They were running the show," he said. "I stood back and said if you need me I'm here but you run the show."

The eight films covered a range of topics including comedy, horror, and social issues that pertain to today's youth.

A highlight at the film festival was the diversity behind the films, in which seven of the films were made by female students and one was made by an African American male.

"Diversity is here," said Lyons.

In addition to screening their films, students had the opportunity to engage with professional filmmakers and view their works.

According to Lyons, the festival received over 38 submissions from all over the world, including Japan and Mexico. A judging panel selected the films based on what spoke the children are going through but also the present day.

Lyons explained he was proud of his student's films and hopes more professionals will continue to show interest in working alongside the children and helping them learn more about the craft.

"Some of these kids aren't the sports kids, the science kids, they didn’t have anything before this program," he said. "So now they're able to express themselves through film and television and they just came alive."

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