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From our Intern: NFFTY Is…

NFFTY Updates

(By: Theresa Syn)

NFFTY is great, and no, I don’t only say that because I’ve been interning at this organization for the past couple of months. Wait, scratch that, NFFTY is great because I’ve been interning with them and I’ve seen how much work goes into making it the largest youth film festival in the world.

Having travelled more than half way around the globe from Singapore, I didn’t know what to expect from NFFTY but I must say that this trip is worth the distance and my time at NFFTY has been nothing short of amazing. Below are three reasons why NFFTY is so great.

#1: Small team, Big hearts

When you think ‘largest youth film festival in the world’, you think a crazy office full of people running around scheduling this and that. When I first got here, I was a little stunned at how small and quiet the office was. Comfortably nestled in a building along Dexter Avenue, NFFTY’s humble headquarters is home to the year-round operations of this world-class festival. It didn’t take me very long to get acquainted with the office of 3 rooms and the 3 full time staff – Jesse, Lindsey and Owen (Sam at that time).

As time wore on, I started learning the workings of a non-profit organization. It is not easy, for sure. A small team means that each staff has to take on multiple roles and duties even if its not in their interests or areas of expertise. I’ve seen them hold conference calls early in the morning and rushing out for back-to-back meetings immediately after. There are times when the company is faced with difficulties but the NFFTY team always stays positive no matter what.

A 4-day festival with an attendance of over 10,000 held by only a full-time team of 3? I think it’s pretty amazing the things this small team can do.

By youths for youths, NFFTY 2012 screened over 200 films made by filmmakers under the age of 22 

#2: NFFTY Believes

During my time at NFFTY, I was given the opportunity to talk to some NFFTY alumni (Brett Allen Smith/Justin Dane Chambers) and it made me realize that age is no barrier when it comes to doing great things. Being 20 and on my way to college, it is definitely inspiring to see people my age doing the things they love, going so far and achieving so much.

This is exactly what NFFTY stands for. NFFTY strongly believes in the talent and potential of young filmmakers and provides them with the platform to showcase their work and connect with fellow filmmakers their age. They celebrate the work and success of young filmmakers and believe that world-class treatment and red carpet events are not exclusive to adults.

Being a youth myself, it is really nice to see that we are taken so seriously. I speak from personal experience when I say that youths are often not given the same treatment or opportunities as adults because we are ‘too young’ or ‘too inexperienced’. NFFTY believes otherwise which is why I say it is a great thing, especially for young filmmakers around the world

NFFTY filmmakers getting the red carpet treatment at NFFTY 2012

#3 NFFTY is the Future of Film

 As I mentioned above, NFFTY believes and nurtures young filmmakers and these young filmmakers will eventually go on to work in Hollywood or even win the Oscars. By providing this platform and mentorship to young filmmakers, it gives them a head start into the industry and allows them to learn from their peers and professionals from a young age. The revolutionary work seen at NFFTY is only precursor of the great things that the film industry will produce in the years to come.

Although my time at NFFTY is coming to an end and it is my greatest regret that I will not be a part of the festival (life beckons), I am sure that NFFTY 2013 will be bigger and better than ever.



Theresa, 20, has been an intern at NFFTY for 5 months. During her time at NFFTY, she writes articles for the blog and handles NFFTY’s social media pages. She is from the sunny island of Singapore in South East Asia and is currently pursuing a diploma in Mass Communication.


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