The next generation of filmmakers takes to the screens this week with NFFTY, the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, getting back into the swing of things after two years of pandemic disruption.
In addition to running the film fest, NFFTY also provides education and hands-on experience throughout the year — and getting back to that has been a huge relief, says NFFTY Executive Director Dan Hudson. “Professional film equipment can only be learned hands-on, so there was definitely some lost ground for some during those periods of lockdown,” he says.
This year’s crop of films is a fascinating glimpse into the priorities and preoccupations of Gen-Z, according to Hudson. “This generation is so self-assured and confident,” he says. “They tackle mental health, gender fluidity, race, toxic masculinity, climate change, and a host of other hard-hitting topics, all with a very personal and authentic touch, often being the actual subjects in the film. Meanwhile, my generation was known for mumblecore indie.”
One interesting technical shift: Young filmmakers aren’t afraid to experiment with novel aspect ratios, having grown up on Instagram and TikTok. “They're not as married to the horizontal anamorphic or cinemascope aspect ratios,” Hudson says. “These aspect ratios (square, vertical) are great for capturing feelings of isolation and other emotional states we've all been grappling with in the past two years.”
While NFFTY 2022 will be a hybrid event — online and in-person — there’s no substitute for face-to-face networking, provided it’s done safely. “You don't have to go to film school to become a good professional filmmaker,” says Hudson, “but you do need a network of people who can work on your projects and can pay you to work on theirs!”
The 15th National Film Festival for Talented Youth runs from Thursday to Sunday, online and in-person. Find more events suggested by The Stranger here.