The Evanston Art Center is calling all aspiring young movie moguls to enter its new Evanston Youth Film Festival competition.

The festival, open to filmmakers under the age of 19 working in all genres, is an opportunity for youth from Evanston and the surrounding area to create and present their own short films.

Festival organizer Anne Stevens says. “We know our local youth are making excellent short films at home, in after school classes and clubs. We want to gather and celebrate their creative work with a public screening.”

The Evanston Youth Film Festival is the inaugural endeavor of EAC’s newly formed springBoard, a group dedicated to bringing fresh ideas and innovative programs to the Evanston Art Center and the audiences it serves.

The springBoard’s intention is to provide a new outlet for artistic expression and a way for young people to showcase their talents, as well as address the issues they feel are most important in their lives and communities.

Festival organizer and springBoard member Michael Finnegan, says, “Our goal is to engage and activate the Evanston youth in a creative and positive way and provide a forum for them to present their ideas. In addition, it is very important that we create local partnerships and use this event as an opportunity to reach out into the community and provide workshops, resources and guidance to the kids involved.”

The March 17 screening of the winning films will take place at Rotary International in Evanston in the building’s brand new, state of the art theater. This joint effort marks the first time that the Evanston Art Center and Rotary International have worked together in this manner to sponsor an event.

Festival guidelines stipulate that submitted films run no longer than two to five minutes.

The submission site is now open and entries are being accepted through March 3. There is no fee for entering the competition and cash prizes will be awarded in elementary, middle, and high school age groupings.

The winners in each age group will be selected based on the recommendations of a board of independent expert jurors. Prizes will be announced during the screening on March 17. Tickets to attend the screening are $10 each. All funds raised will go toward youth scholarships for Evanston Art Center classes.

More information about the festival is available online.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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