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The closing date for Student Critic applications is 12 May 2014, so if this is for you then make sure you get your application in. Details are at the end of this article. 

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) is pleased to announce its new Teen Spirit section and Youth Hub as part of its ongoing commitment to engaging young audiences and encouraging new filmmaking talent. The Teen Spirit films at this year’s Festival are aimed at the 15-26 year old audience and have been selected by the sixteen-strong EIFF Young Programmers team, all aged between 15 and 19. During EIFF the Young Programmers will be hosting Q&As, promoting the Teen Spirit films and reporting from within the Festival. As part of the Festival’s ongoing commitment to film education and young audiences, Teen Spirit will screen six feature and six short films – and tickets for all Teen Spirit screenings will be only £5 each no matter what your age.

Teen Spirit includes GALORE, a powerful drama about sex, friendship and tragedy set during a blistering Australian summer; BALLET BOYS, a warm-hearted, inspiring film which introduces us to three very best friends who are all passionate about ballet; and #CHICAGOGIRL – THE SOCIAL NETWORK TAKES ON A DICTATOR is a raw and often inspiring look at how the Facebook generation is making a political impact on a global scale. FINSTERWORLD is a darkly comic, deftly intelligent and original take on modern German guilt and the wider state of 21st-century society; KORSO portrays Finland’s spin on teenage dreams, delusion and denial; and VIOLET is a beguiling portrait of grief and brotherhood seen through teenage eyes. The short films are: EMO (THE MUSICAL), HALF SOUR, LETTER FROM AN OLD BOY, SCHOOLYARD, TRYOUTS and MORITZ AND THE WOODWOSE.

EIFF Young Programmer Douglas Greenwood (19, Edinburgh) said: “I’ve enjoyed the experience of discovering new films and having the opportunity to fall in love with them. It will be exciting to screen them to an audience at EIFF and it makes me eager to learn about programming film festivals internationally!”

Sam Thomson (16, Edinburgh) said: “It was a great experience. I’ve seen so many great films that are so deserving of a greater focus. I’ve also loved meeting the other programmers- all of whom are very professional and friendly. The festival itself is going to be amazing. If you want a career in film or just love watching them – this is absolutely for you.”

In addition to Teen Spirit, EIFF boasts a number of events and activities for young people keen to explore the world of film either through school programmes for all age groups or public workshops and events.

Youth Hub is a new, free EIFF programme of events for young people, which runs throughout the Festival from 19 – 27 June at Space Club in Argyle House. Full details are to be announced on 2 June and most events will be free and can be booked via Eventbrite. Youth Hub is essential for young people passionate about film and thinking about working or studying in this creative industry. The inspirational programme will include filmmaker masterclasses, careers advice, practical workshops and opportunities to network, for 15 – 26 year olds. These events are in partnership with Space Club, and somewhereto_ and programmed with advice from the Young Programmers team.

Rebecca Thompson, Founder and Trustee of Space Club and somewhereto_ Regional Delivery Partner, said: “We are delighted to be working with EIFF to bring an exciting edition to the festival this year which we hope will spark ideas and creativity in a new generation of film talent.  The Youth Hub programme of events and screenings offer unparalleled opportunities for young film-makers and fans, and we hope that EIFF, Space Club and somewhereto_ can together help young people really make their mark on the festival this year. Space Club and somewhereto_ hope to continue to collaborate with EIFF and their partners, and will be on hand to encourage and support young film-makers to access the space and resources they need long after the festival.”

EIFF’s Schools Programme continues to go from strength to strength, with Media Days for students aged 15-17 years taking Higher Media Studies, providing an exciting insight to EIFF. Each day includes the premiere of a new film and the screening of a short film, along with meetings with filmmaker guests and presentations from individuals from across the film and creative industries. Previous guests have been directors, actors, cinematographers, games designers and advertising creatives, including actor Jason Isaacs, director Ken Loach and producer Iain Smith.

The Edinburgh Schools Film Competition is a partnership between EIFF, City of Edinburgh Council Children & Families Department and Screen Education Edinburgh. Films from Nurseries, Primaries, Special Schools and Secondary Schools are all eligible and the final selection is made by EIFF’s Youth Jury who also present a number of awards to the films during the Festival.

CMI’s innovative film education project Understanding Cinema will bring over four hundred young people from 24 schools and youth groups across Scotland from Edinburgh, East Lothian, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Mull to EIFF for the screenings of their films. The project is an inspiring project which develops creative and critical thinking, filmmaking skills and teamwork by examining one aspect of cinema, which this year is ‘the long take’. Supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, Understanding Cinema employs eight film tutors who have worked with teachers and young people since November 2013. The programme has been developed from the Cinémathèque Française’s long-running project Le Cinéma, Cent Ans de Jeunesse. One group from Edinburgh’s Broughton High School will also show their final film at Cinémathèque Française at the start of June, when young people from 40 ‘workshops’ across 11 countries share their final films made to the same rules, examining ‘the long take’.

As previously announced, the prestigious Student Critics Jury, now in its third year, offers seven young people currently studying in Scotland the opportunity to attend EIFF, learn more about the art of film criticism and present an award. With financial support from James & Morag Anderson, the students will be mentored by leading international critics as they see films from various strands of the EIFF programme and complete reading assignments and reviews of films.  They will also determine the winner of the Student Critics Jury Award, presented at the EIFF Awards Ceremony. The closing date for Student Critic applications is 12 May.

For further information on Understanding Cinema see http://understandingcinema.wordpress.com/ and http://blog.cinematheque.fr/100ans20132014/

For applications and further information visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk/learning or contact: education@cmi-scotland.co.uk.