The Wexner Center will celebrate the young Ohio filmmakers whose works were chosen for this year's Ohio Shorts showcase at a special party and screening, Monday, April 7, at 6 PM. (A separate showcase, on Saturday, April 26, exists for adult entries.) To qualify, youth division entries had to be 5 minutes or less and produced in Ohio within the last 18 months.
Adam Vincent, program assistant in film/video, served as a judge for the first time this year and reflects on the experience of seeing these creative works by Ohio youth. Find out more about the Ohio Shorts: Youth Division showcase, including a list of winning entries, here.
Kids are mysterious to me. Sure, I was a kid once upon a time (arguably not so long ago), but they seem to exist in a world completely separate from my own, one that's perpetually enchanting. The wonder children have about the world—even well into their teenage years—is part of the reason that I think those of us in the square, adult world sell them short sometimes. Grown-up cynicism dictates that we have to shrug off wonder as something childish—an adjective that injects negative connotation into the very concept of being a kid. But just like any fully-grown adult, our youths are beings of depth, feeling, curiosity, and talent. Unlike adults, however, kids move more freely in their expression and with less regard for the social structures and norms to which we are all subjected. This fact is made unquestionably evident in the selection of films for the Ohio Shorts 2014 Youth Division showcase. This was my first time acting as a judge for such an event, and the biggest surprise (beyond how easy it was to arrive at consensus!) was how diverse the work by Ohio youths turned out to be. I can't say at this point what my expectations were when I sat down to watch the entries because they were so wholly dissolved by the time I'd finished.
Entries from a wide swath of ages took every conceivable form, from traditional narratives to documentary to experiments in technique to music videos to animation and beyond. The variety of experience and emotions explored and chronicled in the works is staggering, but of special note to me is just how often (and effectively) humor is deployed. Moments of levity are used to diffuse the tension of found-footage horror, to turn bullying on its head, to illustrate the different ways individuals learn, and on and on. Humor is an important element to many of the pieces in this year's showcase, even—perhaps especially—those that address serious subject matters, such as personal loss, mental illness, and violence.
Beyond the nuances of humor and the myriad forms the works take, one element is constantly evident, and that is the passion of the creator in the work. You can feel the artist in each piece, and you can feel their fascination with the craft they’re exploring. That passion and interest, coupled with the unique perspective of youth makes for a compelling and wholly enjoyable showcase of films. The wonder these talented youths have injected into their works is contagious. You’ll see.