Free films for all

Free films for all

Jump Cut, the city's first pop-up film festival, is designed specifically for young people - and is run by young people, too.

Hong Kong is home to a wide range of film festivals to suit every taste. But none has been designed with school-age viewers in mind - until now.

Last October, the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation called for people aged between 15 and 20 who were passionate about film to help organise the city's first pop-up film festival. All sorts applied - international schoolers, local secondary school pupils and university students.

A diverse mix of 13 (some appear in the photo below) were chosen. They formed the committee of Jump Cut - the first film festival to be created and run by teenagers. The festival, which is free to attend, is named after a film-editing technique.

Maria Wong, HKYAF's head of performing arts, says she has wanted to set up such a festival for a long time. "A couple of years ago, I met up with the director of the Glasgow Film Theatre. She introduced me to the Glasgow Youth Film Festival, which is curated entirely by young people. This model seems to be the best fit for Hong Kong and the YAF," she says.

Apart from selecting the committee and running master-classes, the adults have left the committee to their own devices. "They learned how to put together a film festival, how to programme and market it. They learned about film appreciation," Wong says.

Committee vice-president Heyson Tang Cheuk-yu, 19, a Baptist University student, leapt at the chance to expand his film experience and help others learn more. "As a film student, I am always searching for opportunities to get hands-on experience in anything to do with film," he says. "Apart from shooting, I also wanted to learn more about the art administration side of film, so I was lucky to hear about Jump Cut!"

On the festival being led by teens, Tang says: "A festival curated by adults may include films that adults 'want' teenagers to watch, to teach life lessons. But a festival led by youths can include films we genuinely want to share."

Jump Cut's public relations officer, Ariel Chan, 16, from HKUGA College, agrees. "I have always had a thing for film. It is a form of storytelling that excites all senses," she says. "I also feel that it is important to convey the message that film is more than just entertainment."

It was after watching (500) Days of Summer that Ariel realised this. "In less than two hours, the film taught me something in a way that a book could not," she says. "That was a grand moment of realisation, when I felt films are truly documentaries of daily life and life lessons.

"Films are a form of art, a form of expression, an interpretation of thoughts, feelings and ideas through images and sounds. There are no real restrictions on who can watch it and who cannot."

To help the committee narrow down their long list of potential films to screen, event manager Cindy Leung, 16, from King George V School, says they decided on a theme.

"We discussed what topics people would most likely be interested in, and decided on 'human connection' as it included most of the suggestions," she says. "We also felt that the topic was particularly good for teenagers as it is one of our greatest concerns."

With 18 films from local animated shorts to Oscar-winning features, there is something for everyone. While the committee hopes that the audience "might go home and look up the filmmaker's others works", as Cindy says, "ultimately, we are just hoping to share our love of films with others."

Jump Cut runs April 15-20. Visit Facebook.com/JumpCutYouth to learn more, and register to watch.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Free films for all

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