Celebrating Young Filmmakers

The films provoked a lot of thought and insight from both the Youth Jury (which included kids from as far afield as Port Lincoln) and the general audience. Standouts included an Adelaide-made short called Honey which depicted childhood jealousy issues in a sensitive, heart-warming way, and the Norwegian film Bog Hole.

The Jury

The Adelaide International Youth Film Festival is open to students from all South Australian high schools and the winning films of the Statewide Schools Filmmaking Competition will be decided by a Jury comprising high school students. Applications are now open for students to join the 2023 Youth Jury, which will meet online and in person to select winners of the competition categories. Successful applicants will receive four complimentary tickets to screenings across the festival season and be invited to the Red Carpet Gala where the awards are announced.

The Festival has established a strong relationship with Giffoni, Italy’s leading children’s film festival and is working to bring a delegation of young South Australian filmmakers to Giffoni this year. This is a great opportunity to develop the next generation of filmmakers and explore their creativity in the world’s most exciting international filmmaking community.

During the festival, audiences will experience films that are both entertaining and thought-provoking, exploring themes such as immigration, gender equality and the importance of education, among others. A variety of international and Australian works will be screened, including the feature films The Lives Of Others and Half Moon and the short films Colossal Youth, Home Song Stories and We Have No Idea.

The Festival is a unique Australian event that celebrates young filmmakers and their creative ideas. It has a reputation as a ‘friendly festival’ for welcoming filmmaker guests and patrons from around the world and for its support of new Australian cinema through the Investment Fund. Initially presented biennially from 2003, the Festival moved to an annual presentation in 2015.

The Audience

Aside from the thought-provoking films that make up the Festival’s full line-up, there’s also an array of workshops to participate in. Whether it’s disappearing beneath scarves of green at the Green Screen workshop or having your fake bruises and wounds applied by the Special Effects team, these activities are sure to give even the biggest film sceptics a spark of curiosity about the industry.

This year saw the Adelaide International Youth Film Festival move from a biennial event to an annual presentation, with the festival proudly being listed in industry bible Variety’s international list of ‘50 Unmissable Film Festivals’. Having been awarded a substantial investment from the South Australian Government, the 2022 Festival celebrated its first full program line-up since shifting to an annual event and will include the World Premiere of Madeleine Parry’s Angels: Kickin’ Down the Door, which premiered in the prestigious Horizons section at Venice.

In its search for the best and brightest young filmmakers, AFF seeks bold and original storytelling encouraging young people to embrace a diverse and complex world where they can make a courageous contribution. Works can be feature fiction, feature documentary, series (single or multiple episodes), short films and VR works* (drama, documentary, hybrid, experimental and animation) made in Australia and internationally. AVR works must be able to play on an Oculus Quest 2 headset.

The Awards

The major awards presented at the festival are a combination of juried prizes and audience-voted winners. This year, the festival is proud to partner with Opal Diamond Factory who will be custom making the festival’s beautiful Major Award trophies out of Australian opals. The festival is also proud to host the world premiere’s of three films made by Adelaide emerging filmmakers through the inaugural Short Film Worx initiative – a partnership between the City of Adelaide, Beyond Content and Picture Hire Australia.

The short films screened at this year’s festival ranged from good natured comedy to heartfelt drama. A highlight was the French animated short Hors Piste, a black comedy of increasing human errors in a mountain rescue operation. The Mannequin Man, another of the shorts, was a touching and funny look at elderly loneliness.

Other highlights included a strong contingent of local fare, including Rowan Woods’ dark thriller The Nightingale, set in 1825 and featuring a Tasmanian convict girl who pursues a British officer through the wilderness with the help of an Aboriginal tracker; Grant Sputore’s futuristic I Am Mother, which features two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank; and Carnifex, an environmental horror directed by South Australian Matt Vesely.

A number of the films screened at this year’s AIYFF were supported by the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund, which celebrates the development of Australian feature and documentary works. The funded films this year include Rolf de Heer’s drama The Survival of Kindness; sci-fi thriller Monolith; and Jolyon Hoff’s documentary Watandar, My Countryman, following a former refugee as he explores his Afghan identity.

The Finale

Throughout the years the Festival has shown everything from slick 35mm shorts to weird and wonderful experimental films. This year the program will celebrate the enduring magic of film.

The festival will showcase a diverse range of works, from a range of international and Australian filmmakers. The programme will explore emerging trends in film and screen culture with a bold program of screenings, forums, events and engagement opportunities. It is one of the boldest and most innovative in Australia, renowned for welcoming guest filmmakers and patrons from around the world, as well as providing ongoing investment in Australian work through the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

This year the festival will host 70 Youth Jury members from Australia, Italy, New Zealand and the US who will take part in all aspects of the festival. This cultural exchange, as a means of understanding and celebrating differences and similarities is a major rationale for the festival.

To be eligible for competition, a film must have been produced and directed by a young person aged 12 or under, and the producer, director, and camera operator must be under 12. For VR works, the Festival seeks narrative based work that is cinematic in nature, and can be experienced on an Oculus Quest 2. See full terms and conditions of submission here.