GoSeeShare: Glasgow Youth Film Festival

Natalie Ulman, who attended the Glasgow Youth Film Festival last year, supported from the Highland Youth Arts Hub, shares her experience of the event.

Glasgow Youth Film Festival is fast approaching and I totally recommend anyone who is interested in film in the Highlands to attend! Last year I attended the festival with fellow Highland filmmaker Sunny Moodie thanks to Highland Youth Arts Hub. The festival had an incredible atmosphere – loads of films, masterclasses, and workshops curated and put on by young people for young people!

One such masterclass was led by Dutch director, writer, and actress Tamar van den Dop. She began the class by showing us her short film LOT. The films follows the day of a five year old girl: Tamar explained she loves directing children before the age of eight because they don’t have a sense of shame and don’t have a fear of the way they look. Tamar proceeded to get two people in the class to go on stage and to close their eyes and sit in a chair, touch the chair, and then describe the chair. She was trying to make their “acting” on stage as real as it could be. She suggested the biggest curse of an actor and director is being self-conscious and insecure about the way you look. Tamar stated the trick with directing and acting is to relax and not to think about silly things like how your hair looks. To do this she suggested putting your attention elsewhere like on the other actor or on the scene itself. For example, the old actress in her film LOT was an amateur actress but she didn’t mind the way she looked and therefore gave a brilliant performance. Her methods of acting/directing are particularly relevant to young people where selfies and social media make us over concerned about body image.

After the class we went up to talk to Tamar and had great discussion. She then invited us to the screening of her latest film Supernova which was playing that evening. I was completely blown away by the film and it has continued to influence my filmmaking style. The film was about Meis, a fifteen year old girl, who spends her summer days in the country passing the time, bored, waiting for her life to explode! Tamar’s films focus on youth, puberty, and female experience.

Afterwards we stayed to analyze the film and talk more with Tamar. She even offered to take a look at the films we were producing and we exchanged contacts. It’s been great to have contacts in the European film industry like Tamar! The film and Tamar’s workshop were incredibly influential to me as a director. As a female filmmaker it is great to see other woman making beautiful films and taking up multiple roles on set such as both acting and directing.

If you want to attend a smaller film festival but with an exciting atmosphere GYFF is worth a visit! It is the only film festival in Europe curated by 15-18 year olds. And this year, the four-day festival focuses on first-time feature filmmakers who are highlighting teen issues, and they are showcasing talent from all over the world. The films are great, the filmmakers in attendance are approachable, the people who run it are awesome, and the connections you make last a lifetime!

The festival runs this year from 12th – 15th February 2016.