First Expressions Festival – A Success
by Joanne Jefferson, Arts & Entertainment, Bridgewater Bulletin & Progress Enterprise, SouthShoreNow.ca April 22, 2008
The first annual Expressions New Media Festival for Youth took place in Bridgewater April 12 and 13, and was a great beginning. Community sponsors, volunteers, creators and fans joined together for two days of entertainment, learning and celebration.
Special guest Aven Fisher presented his award-winning films “Bruno” and “Herbert” as part of the festivities at Empire Studio 7.
Festival director Ronnie Scullion said she was pleased with the response from young people. “We received just under 50 entries, fairly evenly split between the three categories: film, animation and video game design.”
Films and animations ranged from the comic to the experimental – “Modnar Ffuts” – to more serious projects touching on topics of racism in “I am Forced” by Loreal Labrador (South Shore Alternate School), and youth crime in “Just a Bad Kid,” a documentary by Thomas Shield (Hebbville Academy).
First place in the film category went to Christopher DeBruin (Bridgewater High School) for his delightful silent movie “The Case of the Missing Library Book.” Second place went to Jordan Perry and Sam Dunford (Park View Education Centre) for “Down the Hall and Around the Corner,” a well-crafted pixilation that takes the viewers down the halls of Park View.
In the animation category, “Trash Aliens” by a group of after-school participants at Artech Studios – Ben Conrad, Callum Huyer, Sage McConnell and Jace Mulock –– took second prize. The winning animation, “Super Sheep to the Rescue” by Marieke Denil, has also been shortlisted for Viewfinders International Film Festival for Youth and will be shown again on April 23 at Bayers Lake Cinema 10.
First place in the video game design category went to Sage McConnell and Ben Conrad for their role playing game “The Orb of Peril.”
Photos from the festival, all the winning films and animations, plus the complete list of prize winners can be viewed on the Expressions web site.
The Lunenburg County Film Series generously sponsored the film and animation competitions. The organizers of the series plan to show the winning films from Expressions at their last screening of this season in May.
Between screenings at Expressions, extravagant puppets from Wee Giant Theatre helped create a festive atmosphere as they danced around the lobby of Empire Studios.
Some participants even had a chance to try out the puppets themselves, transforming into butterflies, eagles and clowns.
At Saturday’s well-attended workshop, award-winning animator Aven Fisher demonstrated use of a wire armature for clay-modelled figures. He also helped workshop participants create short animated sequences with characters they built.
Expressions New Media Festival for Youth was made possible through the generous support of more than 30 businesses, community organizations and individual patronage, as well as the hard work of many community volunteers that include a dedicated youth jury. A list of sponsors and supporters can be viewed on the festival web site.
Expressions is now recruiting planning committee members for next year’s festival.