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Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival in North Miami Beach

Written By Sergy Odiduro
July 18, 2022 at 1:36 PM

Filmmaker and hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy features as part of film festival. (Photo by Andre Williams)

URGENT, Inc is hosting their seventh annual Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival in North Miami Beach.

The event, held in partnership with the city, will take place from July 21-22 at the Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater. Participants will have access to 70 short films created by student filmmakers.

“It’s all types of filmmakers, 24 years and younger, that are creating content that tackles the issues that they truly care about,” said Joey Lamar Ashley, the festival’s film director.

“It’s a huge networking opportunity as well. This is one of those events where you’re going to be a part of an experience around people that want to make change.”

The event will also feature a pitch competition, workshops, panel discussions and master classes with industry professionals. This includes actor Sergio Delavicci, known for his roles in The Fix, The Post, and Creed 2 as well as filmmaker and hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy.

(L) Saliha Nelson, CEO URGENT (R) Actor Sergio Delavicci. (Photo by Joey Ashley)

Dr. Saliha Nelson, chief executive officer for URGENT, said that this is a great opportunity for youth filmmakers to tap into their expertise.

“Sergio will be focused more on the acting elements and working with… improv to improve those skills for those that are interested in working in front of the camera.

“Fab 5  is going to be concentrating on behind the scenes. He’ll be sharing what he learned over the years in directing not only music videos, but feature films.”

Nelson noted how much the students are looking forward to switching back to the festival’s original format so they could take advantage of live hands-on training.

“We’re back in person this year after two years of virtual festivals because of Covid,” she said.

“For the last two years, we were putting on a virtual festival using YouTube Live and actually, we had pretty good success with the virtual component, but the kids expressed to us that they would really like to be back in person.”

Ultimately, for them, there was no comparison.

“They wanted their workshops to be in person and have an opportunity to meet their instructors face to face. They liked the camaraderie of watching the films together and they liked to see how the audience reacted to their films in real time.”

Nelson said that the richness of this experience has directly influenced the birth of the festival.

URGENT offers several youth programs including their Film Arts Culture Entrepreneurship Internship for High School students. Interns are given the chance to submit their work to be included in the event.

“We created this platform seven years ago, initially, to really launch and elevate their work of art,” she said. “They are able to produce content that they can enter into our festival, which was the impetus of why we created the festival because we had so much great storytelling happening. So we’re like, more people need to be able to see this. They also need to be able to interact with their peers who are also young, creative and develop some synergy.”

Participants in the program are given production experience as well.

“We also have a team that works behind the scenes which includes the planning and execution and so they get to see both sides. So not only do they submit their work, they also see what it takes to put on a festival.”

Nelson invites the public to come out and see what they’ve come up with.

“It’s really going to be a fun time,”  she said.

“We have so many creative youth, telling very interesting stories around the issues that they care about. It’s also an opportunity to support young people who really are doing positive things in their community and celebrating how they’re really taking to heart their craft while building skills and wanting to give back to their communities in positive ways.”

Ashley said that the festival is also important because it provides a crucial platform for those who may not normally get one.

“We are celebrating all the voices that are making an impact,” he said.

“This allows people, particularly people in marginalized communities, particularly people that don’t have a voice, to finally have the chance to showcase their work.

“A lot of times, particularly youth filmmakers, that don’t get the chance to show work that they truly care about. Every youth filmmaker should know that they have the power of one and the power of one can  make a global impact.”

WHAT: Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival

WHEN: July 21-22, 2022

WHERE: Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater, 17011 NE 19th Ave, North Miami Beach, FL 33162

TICKETS: $20 Adults; $5 Youth Ages 11-21

To purchase tickets or for more information visit www.urgentinc.org/youth-film-festival.

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