Chicago International Film Festival Hosts CINEYOUTH FILM FESTIVAL Review: Young filmmakers create striking works

Editor’s Note:  Cinema/Chicago (the presenting arm of the Chicago International Film Festival) is hosting the CineYouth Film Festival a “three-day film festival showcasing short films by directors ages 6-22 from around the world” as described by the press release. Picture this Post’s Taryn Smith had the opportunity to review 5 of the selections for the upcoming festival.


In this writer’s opinion, these films were remarkable and showcase a wide array of talent from the next generation of filmmakers.

Chicago International Film Festival CINEYOUTH FILM FESTIVAL
Katie Jarvis in I was 3

I was 3

I was 3 follows a young woman Laura (Katie Jarvis) as she makes a discovery about herself and her past. Written and directed by Alfie Barker, this dramatic tale draws us in right away with a very effective first scene. We discover, along with a somewhat troubled Laura, the secrets of her past and we see the devastating emotional consequences as she finds what her father (Dean Kilbey) has been keeping from her. Jarvis portrays a realistic and compelling young woman who finds the strength needed to not only accept the truth but also make a change. Barker’s text and directing work very well to simply tell an intricate tale. (Run Time: 11:00)

Silvia in the Waves

This moving piece directed by Giovana Olmos portrays a family coping with a death. Noa (Sullivan Ourdraogo) and his mom Miri (Patricia Dorval) disagree over some aspects of the departed’ s life. In Noa we see a steadfast young man who was able to accept who his father truly was, while his mother struggles to. This beautiful journey towards acceptance is interspersed with surreal elements that heighten the emotional intensity. Olmos showcases very moving underwater scenes involving Silvia (a stirring Henri Pardo) that are, in this writer’s opinion, astonishingly beautiful and impactful. (Run Time: 13:04)

Chicago International Film Festival CINEYOUTH FILM FESTIVAL
Sullivan Ourdraogo and Patricia Dorval in Silvia in the Waves
Chicago International Film Festival CINEYOUTH FILM FESTIVAL
Kaleb Davie in We're Here We're Queer

We’re Here We’re Queer

In this uplifting documentary-directed by Connor O'Keefe-we get a chance to hear from participants at a college drag show on the night of Trump’s inauguration. Kaleb Davie-also an organizer of the event-shares how he started getting comfortable with his sexuality and his drag persona Rosie. We also meet Aiden Rivkin who shares their journey to becoming a drag king. Kaleb and Aiden both share their stories of personal discovery and finding communities that accept and support them. This important film is fun and enlivening.  Seeing young folks in the LGBTQ+ community celebrating who they are in the backdrop of the inauguration of an administration that may cause them harm is an impactful moment that highlights the spirit of community and resistance in the face of adversity. (Run Time: 8:19)


Degüello is a historical war film written and Directed by Luis Treviño and Jaime Herrera Jr. We follow a young American soldier (Lorenzo Leyva) as he fights Germans in Europe during WWI. The American survives an intense battle and comes upon a guitar and two Germans (Joesph Byrne and Dominik Blübe). Enemy soldiers, having just survived a battle, must decide whether or not to continue fighting. The use of sound, or lack thereof, in this film is especially effective at drawing the viewer into the chaotic world of war and showcasing how communication can transcend words. Treviño and Herrera also break the realism of the film in one very touching moment. (Run Time: 14:28)

Chicago International Film Festival CINEYOUTH FILM FESTIVAL
Lorenzo Leyva in Degüello
Chicago International Film Festival CINEYOUTH FILM FESTIVAL
Anna Peterson, Samuel Parker, and Nicholas Keenan in Baby I'm Yours

Baby I'm Yours

Baby I’m Yours-directed by Hadley Hillel and written by Hillel and Noah Feinberg- takes place in a heavily ‘50s influenced futurist world. In it, Nathan (a very talented Nicholas Keenan) starts to question some things about his mother Silvia (Elizabeth Kate). This very imaginative sci-fi adventure takes us through Nathan’s journey, including an encounter with a repair man (Gianmarco Duin), of learning the truth about his mom and the secrets she’s been keeping. The stylization of the entire world-from clothing and hair to furniture and technology-heightens the otherworldly element to this film while also giving it a familiar feel. (Run Time: 12:00)


Friday April 20th – Sunday April 22nd


Music Box Theatre
3733 N Southport Ave



To secure tickets and view the lineup visit The CineYouth Film Festival website

Photo Credit:  All images courtesy of Cinema/Chicago

Photo: Brian McConkey

About the Author

Taryn Smith graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago's BFA Performance program in 2011. After graduating, she co-founded Realize Theatre Group and served as Executive Director for the company.  She has filled numerous roles while with RTG both on and off stage including making her playwriting debut with her play America, Inc . She has worked as a stage manage, designer, director, and actor. Outside of the theatre world, Taryn is a licensed massage therapist.

Click here to read more Picture this Post stories by Taryn Smith.

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