New York International Children’s Film Festival


Lights, Cameras, Action!

On March 16th, the Spring Creek After School Program’s Media Club went on their very first field trip to the New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) in Manhattan at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theatre.
The Spring Creek After School Program’s Media Club consists of a group of fourth and fifth graders who have spent the past two years learning all about the digital media industry, practicing how to use cameras, setting up for a photo-shoot, and even creating a short film. Since this cutting-edge initiative is held in conjunction with Spring Creek Teen Central (TC) Vision, they meet with instructors Lonai Mosley, the Director of Teen Central, and Eileen Level, Teen Central’s Media Arts Teaching Artist in the lower level of the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC) twice a week.

This fun filled field trip gave a group of nine students (three from the Media Club and six from the Spring Creek After School program) an opportunity to watch inter-national short films created for their age group. Mosley coordinated the trip to help inspire the student’s imagination and cultivate their desire to create digital art.

The goal of the NYICFF is to provide children, especially ages 8-14, an opportunity to gain an appreciation for film making while also engaging in a conversation on film critiquing. The festival is comprised of 100 short and feature films, Q&A sessions, premieres, and more.

The children boarded a bright yellow school bus with three chaperons, Eileen Level, Randi Ray, and Gavin Edey, heading towards the SVA Theatre. The attendees had reserved seating to enjoy eight short films from around the world (France, Switzerland, Mexico, Cuba, United Kingdom, Japan, United States, and the Russian Federation).

“It was great seeing all of these films! There was one that made me laugh and others that I thought were just really good. One of the films taught me to be grateful for what I have. I have never seen a foreign film or even visited a film festival before,” said Tessia Nsian-Opoku.

Once the SVA Theatre was shrouded in darkness and the silver screen shined with their first short film, the children were enraptured by the stories that were unfolding before them. After each segment, the attendees were given a ballot to vote and critique what they just watched. “The students were happy to learn that their vote could help determine the Festival’s winning films,” said Level.

In addition to the awards at NYICFF, the winners are eligible for consideration at the annual Academy Awards. Maria-Christina Villaseñor, the NYICFF Director of Programming, told the children that their votes count so they need to think critically about what they liked and didn’t like about the films.

Angelina Perry was still reeling from the field trip. “I thought that the festival was great! I learned a lot from watching the films, like never giving up and to keep trying,” Perry said.

Of the eight short films the children watched, Hors Piste, FISH, and Mogu & Perol were their absolute favorites.

Photo courtesy of Eileen Level