A Film Festival For Teens By Teens


Written by: Feaven Abidta
When most people hear about TIFF, they almost invariably think of one thing – how every September, the city becomes abuzz with excitement for ten days as the Toronto International Film Festival brings glitzy red carpets, star-studded movie premieres, and the biggest celebrities, filmmakers, and film fanatics alike from Hollywood and around the world to Toronto. But this month, there’s another film festival in town we should all be talking about.
Starting on Friday, February 14th, the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival will be coming back for its third year and will run during the course of the weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Throughout the three-day festival, Toronto teens will be able to attend a number of events, like the opening night party, a Talent Lab, and Battle of the Scores, where six high-school bands will perform their original scores to youth-made short films, and audiences and judges can select a winner whose music will be featured in the soundtrack of an upcoming movie by local writer/director Pat Mills. They can also choose to watch a variety of films that were selected with the help of the TIFF Next Wave committee, a group of twelve 15 to 18 year old youths who are dedicated to bringing relevant and quality movies to their peers. Simply put, you could say its Toronto’s first and only film festival by teens for teens.
Some of the highlights of this year’s lineup of films include Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto, based on James Franco’s acclaimed book of short stories about the lives of troubled teenagers living in the eponymous Californian city, which James Franco also appears in, alongside rising stars, Emma Roberts, Zoe Levin, and Nat Wolff; and the Canadian Gray brothers’ documentary Fly Colt Fly, which fuses flawless animation and dramatic recreations to tell the unbelievable real-life story of teenage criminal and former American fugitive Colton Harris-Moore, whose quick thinking and ability to  elude capture from the authorities for years by stealing airplanes catapulted him into worldwide stardom. There’s also a special Saturday night movie marathon celebrating the teen rebels of some of the most beloved cult-classic films, from Mean Girls and Juno to Donnie Darko, that’s also worth coming out for.
Best of all? As long as you bring your student ID, most of it’s free.


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