Concordia PhD student co-founds Canadian Youth Film Festival
Last year, two Montreal teachers and researchers, Emma June Huebner and Julie Talbot, joined forces to create the Canadian Youth Film Festival (Canadian Youth Film Festival).
The festival launched last month, receiving 85 submissions from across the country, 26 of which are now featured on the festival website.
Organized as an annual competition, the festival aims to showcase films for young people and provide educational resources and teaching kits to support educators interested in teaching their students the art of filmmaking, whether in language lessons or in media learning.
Huebner is a Ph.D. student at Concordia in the Arts Education Department. She also teaches media arts at Villa Sainte-Marceline, a private French high school for girls.
“The movies that came out were absolutely amazing”
How did you and Julie come up with the idea of creating the Canadian Youth Film Festival?
EJH: I was offered to teach a class at my high school called Media and Communications, and they didn’t really have a strict curriculum, so I was given carte blanche. I set up a structure for the year, so that in the fall we do photography, then we work on sound, and we do soundscapes and podcasts, and at the end of the year we combine this that we learned in photography and sound to make audio-visual.
It’s a tough art form and the movies that came out were absolutely amazing – I couldn’t believe it. I was like, oh my God, what can we do with these movies? You have to see them outside of my class.
I was taking a graduate course at UQAM — at Concordia, you can take interuniversity courses — and that’s where I met Julie. She also teaches media arts at another high school in Montreal. She was researching film and how it can help you express different existential questions, basically. So through our discussions, we both thought, we need to create a festival.
We worked very hard all year and received over 85 submissions. A lot of them were from Quebec because we gave workshops at different teacher conferences and the teachers were really enthusiastic about it.
Many teachers want to teach cinema but don’t necessarily know how or they are intimidated by it. I think by sharing our experiences and resources, they felt empowered to do so.