Magazine article Variety

White House Film Festival: Lights, Cameras, Activism

Magazine article Variety

White House Film Festival: Lights, Cameras, Activism

Article excerpt

President Obama wants to hear from young filmmakers.

Entering its second year, the White House Film Festival, a collaboration with the American Film Institute, mixes history with filmmaking and the ideas of young Americans. This year's topic of "The Impact of Giving Back" encourages students from grades K-12 to submit a three-minute short related to public service on both local and national levels. Submissions came from all 50 states last year.

"Our charge has been to celebrate the impact of the movies," says AFI president and CEO Bob Gazelle. "We all know that the tools of technology have now allowed almost everyone to have a voice."

The festival offers a platform for students who have access to a smartphone, personal video recorder or other video equipment, to make their ideas heard by both Hollywood and Washington officials. Submissions will be accepted until Jan. 20.

The partnership between AFI and the White House is not a new one. Nearly 50 years ago in the Rose Garden, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the creation of the nonprofit institute, tasking it with preserving the nation's films and inspiring future filmmakers to enter the industry. Gazelle says the festival helps propel these goals, and hopes this year's event inspires a spirit of service as well. …

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