In the Kimmel Center downtown on Saturday night, Philly’s young people got a chance to show off their media creations at the Mashed Media Awards, and they did not disappoint. The awards show was presented by the Philly Youth Media Collaborative, an organization designed to support youth in the creation, analysis, and distribution of media.
The show was comprised of film shorts and clips from longer pieces, a few live musical performances, as well as some great speeches about social issues and the arts from the award winners and the sponsoring organizations. The show brought in a diverse crowd, and the nominees themselves came from a wide range of groups, from media collaboratives like the Art Factory and local universities, to independent groups, sometimes with support for their projects from organizations like PBS and Scribe. The only requirements for entry were that the piece be primarily created by youth under the age of 23. (Vitale Digital Media Lab’s own Tayarisha Poe has taught workshops with Scribe. Check them out here.)
The whole audience shared obvious enthusiasm for the diverse subjects explored in the pieces, from abstract, artistic films about youth voices in the community, to comedic stop motion shorts about love, to social awareness films about issues facing GLBT youth and the systematization of violence in Philly.
The Philly Youth Media Collaborative’s mission statement includes supporting creativity and engaged global citizenship, and both qualities were well represented in the nominated work. If you have any doubts about the life youth activism has today, I’d check out the work of some of the nominees for a little inspiration. The full list can be found here.
Equally notable to the social activism and community involvement on display was the quality and creativity of the work. A significant amount of the audience was moved to tears more than once, and for a variety of reasons, sometimes from the beautiful cinematography of pieces like “Moss Folk by Droid Daughter” by Dan Brennan and Connor Lepre, sometimes from the inspirational qualities of more experimental pieces like “FREAK LAY-D—THE BOOM” by Art Factory, and sometimes from the amazing narrative cinematography of documentaries like “Stolen Dreams” by Youth Arts and Self Empowerment Project.
Many of the pieces are available on the organizers websites, or are going to be shown in full at other screenings and festivals throughout the city. I can’t recommend highly enough to check out what the young media makers of Philly have to offer if you get the chance. And if you’re interested in filmmaking here at Penn, make sure to check out this year’s video contest, which is entitled “Make a Point.”