National Film Festival for Talented Youth | Seattle Youth Film Festival | Student Film Festival


Why NFFTY is important for young filmmakers


One of the great things about teaching film production at the high school level is to see, on a daily basis, that filmmaking is an area where young people can be prodigies.  As the tools have become more accessible, it’s become increasingly clear that young people can produce films that are as inventive, as technically accomplished, as worthwhile, and as edifying as work by adults.  Attend NFFTY, and you won’t just see some of the best short films by youth; you’ll see some of the best short films, period.

While Sundance and other film festivals have a program for youth, NFFTY is entirely designed with the young filmmaker in mind.  Filmmaking is, by necessity, a collaborative art form, so building a network is a critical first step for every young filmmaker.  NFFTY gives youth the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and each other as they meet other young filmmakers from all over the world.  Including college filmmakers exposes high school students to work coming out of the great college programs, and gives them a chance to ask college film students about their experiences.  I’ve seen the resulting networks influence and inform my students’ college decisions, future projects, and career paths.

I’m not afraid to travel with my students when great educational experiences require it.  We routinely travel out of state to visit college programs, tour the industry, or attend film festivals.  If NFFTY was on another continent, the trip would be worth it.  But it’s in Seattle!  We’re spoiled.

About the writer:

Matt Lawrence is currently a teacher in the Video Production Program at Ballard High School, Seattle, Washington. Over the years, he has been actively connecting students from Ballard High School with NFFTY and has been supporting NFFTY in any way he can.


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