The Strand Youth Film Fest, an opportunity for young people living in Midcoast Maine and surrounding areas to create and submit their own short films, is accepting entries through Monday, Aug. 31, with awards and a public presentation of the films (virtual, or in-person if possible) in the fall of 2020. Prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges consisting of Strand Theatre  staff and local film professionals, according to a news release from the Rockland based theater.

The Strand Theatre Photo courtesy of the Strand Theatre

All filmmakers must be entering fifth grade through senior year in the 2020-21 school year, or ages 9 to 18 years old; the Junior division includes fifth through eighth grades, or ages 9 to 13, and the Senior division includes freshmen through seniors, or ages 14 to 18. Participants must live in Midcoast Maine and surrounding areas, including Knox, Waldo, Lincoln, Hancock, Kennebec, Penobscot, and Sagadahoc counties.

Films must be 1 to 5 minutes long and follow a G or PG rating, and must be entered into one of the following categories: Narrative (fiction), Documentary, Music Video, or Animation. Prizes will be awarded in each film category for both divisions, plus one “Best of Fest” prize. Films must be submitted in .mov or .mp4 format (note that most iPhone and iPad videos follow these formats). Only one film per submitter is permitted.

“The Strand Youth Film Fest is a great way for us to stay connected to the young people who have come to know us through our Strand Education Programs,” said Strand Education Coordinator Brittany Parker, according to the release. “When we bring artist workshops into the classroom, we focus on fostering the students’ creativity. This film fest allows us to continue to prioritize that work, even though we may not be able to meet with the students in person.”

The Strand has cultivated some digital resources for the young filmmakers, which are available on the theater’s website, including a list of apps that will help them make a film from their phone or tablet. The Rockport-based Maine Media Workshops have partnered with the Strand to provide an inspirational video from acclaimed director and cinematographer, Michael Goi.

“Hearing words of motivation from an esteemed professional like Michael Goi is so exciting,” said Parker, according to the release. “We hope it inspires young people to unleash the power of their voices and explore expressing themselves through the timeless medium of film.”

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The SYFF is made possible with support from the Harvey & Pam Geiger Charitable Fund.