US young audience festivals reach out for your support

In a joint letter, directors and curators of U.S. film festivals for young audiences address you all with a call for international cooperation:

We the undersigned, have made it our professional endeavour to provide young American citizens with windows into the world through cinematic stories and to insure such touchstones are shared with youth internationally, so that viewers:

  • Are informed by the tremendous travel-like immersion into culture, language, history and emotion which a cinematic story can offer in a fraction of a day.
  • Engage in an empathetic experience with a peer from an unknown place.
  • Gain objectivity about their home from an external perspective.
  • Gain insight into how their lives impact and are impacted by lives outside of national borders.

We agree that the need for empathy, broad vision and solidarity with international peers is greatly present now. We ask our global industry peers for support.

We recognize the necessity to respond honestly to young audiences’ questions about confusing or enraging statements coming from positions of power and to neutralize hate-speech with constructivism, innovation and hope.

We recognize that only with the help of our international peers can we maintain a balanced existence in our conjoined world.

We recognize the immense possibility of the future of communication and collaboration with our international peers.

We call on the collaboration of global film industry professionals to create innovative solutions which prevent and circumvent the building of walls, travel restrictions and further barriers to human imagination and communication.

Let us envision our roles as guides for international peers in this increasingly connected world.

We’re looking forward to hear your proposals. Contact:

Catherine Kavanaugh (
Samantha Younes (PDXKids Film Fest)
Elizabeth Shepard (Seattle Children’s International Film Fest, RedCat and BAMkids Film Festival)
Anisa Raoof & Eric Bilodeau (Providence Children’s Film Festival)
Shelley Trott (Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival)