Celebrating its 16th edition in 2021, CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, has a striking and diverse selection of 102 international short films for the festival’s first virtual edition. For its largest edition yet, CineYouth has expanded to a full week, kicking off yesterday, May 6th, and running through through Thursday, May 13th, with films available to stream globally. The festival highlights new films from 2020 and 2021 by filmmakers 22 years old and younger, including many who call Chicago home. This year’s CineYouth selection also represents new high marks with films from 25 countries, the most ever in selection, and 66 percent of the films are either directed or co-directed by female filmmakers. All events and screenings are free and open to the public, with tickets now available.
Cinema/Chicago also released the official festival trailer for CineYouth 2021 featuring a preview of many of the extraordinary films in the program, which can be viewed below.
“These young, socially conscious artists have set their sights on defining the future,” said CineYouth Festival Director Ryan Saunders. “The breadth and variety of their creative work from the past two years shows how cinema will persevere, even in the face of unusual production circumstances.”
“After last year’s postponement, we’re thrilled to present CineYouth 2021 as a premier virtual event showcasing so many new, exciting, and impressive filmmaking talents,” added Artistic Director Mimi Plauché. “As an essential event in Cinema/Chicago’s year-round programming, we look forward to making the 16th CineYouth Festival a celebration of the power of cinema and the creativity and talent of the rising generation of filmmakers.”
Films in the official selection will screen in 14 short film programs spanning a range of genres and themes, including: Playtime: Animation, with a broad selection of animated films coming from California, Hungary, Japan, and elsewhere; A Personal Climate Crisis, a selection of films which investigate humanity’s relationship to nature; and Lights, Camera, Lockdown, a selection of films made during and responding to the pandemic as experienced around the world over the past year.
CineYouth’s Opening Night celebration featured The Cinemas of Chicago, a selection of 14 short films made by Chicago-based filmmakers. The film program screening was followed by a livestream Q&A with the filmmakers on the Festival’s streaming platform. Additional livestream Q&As will be held throughout the Festival with filmmakers participating from across the country and around the world.
The CineYouth Awards Ceremony (May 9, 4:00pm CT) will present awards in 15 categories to CineYouth filmmakers including the Rising Star Award presented by Adobe, the Chicago Award presented by DePaul University, and Best Overall. A selection of award-winning films will be screened at the 57th Chicago international Film Festival in October. A scholarship will also be awarded by the Prodigy Film Camp. RSVP here to attend the award ceremony on the Chicago International Film Festival’s YouTube channel.
In addition to screenings, CineYouth will present a number of live events including panel discussions in collaboration with partners Adobe, DePaul University, and National Film Festival of Talented Youth (NFFTY), along with livestream filmmaker Q&As which will be announced soon.
Led by major sponsors Adobe and DePaul University, and partner NFFTY, CineYouth is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. View the full CineYouth film selection here.