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Kaitlyn and FANS Youth Film Festival

Posted 25th October

Hey everyone! My name is Kaitlyn, I’m 20 years old and I represent Screen Education Edinburgh in the FANS Youth Team – although I’m originally from near Peebles in the Scottish Borders. I am a second year BA Film student at Screen Academy Scotland (Edinburgh Napier University) and have been making films for about 6 years, and currently specialise in producing and assistant directing – although I would love to become a production designer or work in the art department in the future! I first got involved with Screen Education in 2015 on a BFI Academy course, and since then some of the things I have done include; becoming a SEE Youth member, reviving a local screening and networking event, helping set-up a youth drop-in for film enthusiasts, directed a music video, trained as a film tutor, and even gave a speech about my progression and success thanks to Screen Education at the Edinburgh International Film Festival!

I first got involved in the FANS Youth Film Festival after the project manager Frances came to talk at one of our Screen Education Edinburgh Youth committee meetings and pitched the idea of being part of a team putting together one of the first youth-led youth film festivals in the country. Although it sounded terrifying and like a lot of work, I was very interested in being part of the journey. I’ve had experience working at film festivals as a volunteer and help run a local film screening and networking night called ‘Write Shoot Cut’ in Edinburgh every few months – so helping set up a film festival seemed like the next logical step.

Meeting the rest of the team for the first time was a little daunting, having to spend a weekend in the rural highlands with people I knew nothing about, both their prior experience or if I would get along with them. However, my doubts were soon quashed soon after being brought together, everyone was lovely and friendly and clearly very passionate about the project which was inspiring to see. Gathering around a large table to start discussions about the festival was a little scary – everything felt so huge and abstract, it was hard to believe we were discussing making our ambitious plans into reality over the space of a few short months.

Since our first residential, there has been a steep learning curve for me and the rest of the team as we grappled with the huge task we had given ourselves – although daunting we were driven by the desire to create the best possible festival that we could. I took on heading up the social media division of the festival with two other team members, creating content for our audience and promoting the festival far and wide. I also designed and managed the submissions scoring system – compiling the submissions received and overseeing all 12 judges marking their way through all of our submissions.

I wanted to get involved with this project because as a young filmmaker I know how difficult it is to be taken seriously due to my age, and the lack of opportunities and focus on young people – especially in the already under-appreciated art’s sector. I want to create a fully youth-orientated festival that not only encourages young filmmakers to pursue filmmaking but showcases and celebrates young filmmakers of all abilities, backgrounds and levels of experience to be brave, pick up and camera and just make a film – taking away the elitism of filmmaking and making it more accessible to all. I know that this is achievable through the sheer amount of work and planning that has gone into the festival so far, and am incredibly excited to see the end result of all our hard work!

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