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Programming for youth and
children at TIFF


TIFF Bell Lightbox is widely regarded as a prominent hub of arts, culture, and film within Toronto that also has an incredible impact worldwide. As a premier cultural organization, we strive to bring children and youth in contact with the power of film at an early age. TIFF’s youth arts programming takes place year-round and serves as an excellent introduction to the world of film. Generously funded by donors such as yourself, we can’t thank you enough for your support. You have helped unlock the potential of thousands of young people across Canada.

Here, we highlight some of our programmes that provide a creative outlet for young film lovers:

TIFF Kids International Film Festival: With over 160 films from over 40 countries, the 2017 TIFF Kids International Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary and featured our most diverse programming yet. Engaging children between the ages of 3 and 13, the youth-friendly films in TIFF Kids called upon widely varied genres and contexts to address commonly-faced issues, including making friends and discovering one's identity.

Beyond film screenings, the annual TIFF Kids invites children to experience free on-site activities, including a pancake-and-waffle breakfast, drawing on film, and face painting.

digiPlaySpace, ages 3–13: Technology has rapidly advanced in the past decade; flip phones have metamorphosed into smartphones, and computers into tablets. With “computer literacy” becoming an important part of the world that impacts how we work, live, and play, digiPlaySpace gives children an opportunity to get hands-on with technology in a creative way. This year’s digiPlaySpace took place alongside TIFF Kids in April and featured 23 interactive installations from across the globe that introduced children and families to innovative new ways to play. Highlights included the ability to paint with light and a robotic arm that mimics gestures and movements.

TIFF Next Wave, ages 15–25: There are few film festivals for youth that grapple with such pertinent subject matter as exploring masculinity or the social politics of being a young person on the fringes of society. The Next Wave film festival effortlessly explores these topics, and more. Next Wave is also unique in nature, as it is carefully curated by 12 youth between the ages of 15 and 18 who work alongside TIFF staff members to deliver programming. This festival has its finger on the pulse of issues that affect young people today, and features 10 films that are free for people under the age of 25. It also features a 24-hour filmmaking contest; Battle of the Scores, a competition in which participants perform a unique soundtrack; and the Young Creators Co-Lab, which allows youth to collaborate about all things film whilst interacting with industry professionals.

Film Club, ages 15–25: Film Club is an extension of the Next Wave festival that welcomes youth to experience free films, industry talks, and more — on a year-round basis. For many young people across the city, Film Club serves as a downtown hub that allows them to connect with other film lovers and collaborate on exciting new projects.

Jump Cuts, grades 4–8; 9–12: Featuring short films for young people, by young people, Jump Cuts allows the future Barry Jenkins or Laura Poitras to share their work on a public platform. This showcase brings together youth from across the country for a screening and awards ceremony to congratulate the formidable young talents who have written, produced, directed, or acted in their own original short films.

Camps and workshops: Our camps and workshops, tailored for youth between the ages of 8 and 17, welcomes school groups and the public alike, and helps introduce young people to the world of film in a fun and creative way. Through our sessions, youth explore different facets of storytelling, including stop-motion animation, acting, special effects makeup, filming, editing, and video game design. The diverse spectrum of activities available at our camps allows each young person to explore the arts at their own pace and create work personal to them.

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