In this digital age, the film and media industry have become an intricate part of modern culture. To encourage and uplift young and aspiring filmmakers and cinematographers, Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival was created as part of the third annual Florida Youth Economic Development Conference.
The conference took place on July 17th and 18th at Miami Dade College North Campus’ Joan Lehman Theater. The film festival had four categories: music video, short film, psa/commercial, and documentaries. All videos ranged from one to seven minutes in length.
The festival received more than 1,100 film submissions from people ages 14-25. Just 31 films were showcased. The topics included androgyny, feminism, toxic relationships, drugs, mental health and much more.
Joey Lamar Ashley, an entertainment businessman and media empowerment advocate, served as the film festival’s director. He managed all aspects of the program including creative quality, coordination, and sponsorships. This was his first year organizing the festival and his main goal was to empower the youth for social change by fostering social responsibility, acceptance, and diversity. Ashley believes the festival provides a platform for minority youth.
“We have to constantly want to learn. We have to constantly want to change,” Ashley said. “We have to constantly want to adapt. You have to continue to want to learn.”
This year’s winning films were: Rumors & Regrets for short film, Am I Beautiful for music video, Think Again for psa/commercial and Hometown Heroes for documentaries. There were also two separate awards. Audience Choice Award was given to the documentary, Fogdog and the Grand Jury Prize was given to Still Love, a short film.