On Wednesday, June 5th 2019, Planet in Focus held its sixth annual Student Film Festival at the Hot Docs Cinema. Parents, teachers and students from the Toronto and York school boards came together to witness the world premiers of some of the GTA’s youngest budding filmmakers.
Through Planet in Focus’s Eco-Film Lab program, these students were able to conceptualize and create short films exploring a wide variety of environmental themes. Our Eco-Film lab program is a free educational initiative offered to teachers in the Toronto region. The Eco-Film labs help teachers use digital media in kindergarten to grade eight classrooms as a way of starting conversations about both media literacy and the environment at a young age.
The festival featured films covering a wide variety of topics. This year, many students chose to focus their films on activism, community engagement and climate justice, while others tackled themes such as sustainability, recycling, and ocean pollution.
This year’s student film festival culminated in a screening of Plastic is Forever, the first work by 16-year old award-winning filmmaker and activist Dylan D’Haeze. In 2019, Plastic is Forever was a part of both our October festival and our Green School Tour program.
Passionate about empowering young people to help the environment, Dylan began his work on Plastic is Forever at 13, upon learning about the threat plastic pollution poses on marine life. Since the release of his first film, Dylan has continued his work as a filmmaker and activist by creating a series of short films titled “Kids Can Save the Planet.”
Filmmaker Dylan D’Haeze and Planet in Focus Programs Director, Alessandra Cannito
Following the screening, Dylan did a Q&A with our excited young audience via skype. Dylan talked to the students about the many ways kids can help the planet by making sustainable choices and being aware of their plastic use, as well as providing our young artists with filmmaking tips and the encouragement to continue telling their stories through film.
A huge thank-you to all the parents, teachers, and young filmmakers who made this year’s festival such a success. Until next year!
Photographed by www.envisiond.media