This month, from October 15-21, the Vancouver Writers Fest will welcome more than 30 children’s and
young adult authors – including beloved writers Kenneth Oppel and Susin Nielsen – to host a range of
fun, inspiring and educational family events. Each is specifically designed for children from K-12. This
year, the Festival is offering free programming throughout Saturday, October 20, too.
Located on Granville Island, a trip to the Festival is a perfect day out for young children, who can spend a
morning with their favourite authors before enjoying an afternoon playing at the Kid’s Market or by the
duck pond. Teenagers can look forward to hearing about world-building with bestselling YA author
Ashley Little or the future of graphic novels with Simpsons Comics lead writer Ian Boothby.
Here are just five of the many Writers Fest events for young readers of all ages:
Digital Literacy sets the stage to dive deep into the power of public speaking and take on the proliferation of fake news; a close encounter with an 80 ft. virtual whale astounds the senses, and R2R’s Youth and Adult Juries choose the award winners to be presented on Closing Night. These are some of the highlights of the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth, April 8–14.
During R2R’s Power of Speech presentation, media educator Tash King will examine how digital technologies have reshaped concepts of credibility, authority, and truth. Students will discuss the rise of media designed to influence public opinion, including sponsored content, propaganda, and disinformation in both mainstream forums and social media. This presentation is part of a day-long Youth Media Conference designed to engage high school students on relevant issues that matter to them, and take a Behind the Scenes look at their career options in the film and tech industry.
theBlu: Whale Experience is the first of a three-part series of immersive room-scale VR that invites audiences to witness the wonder and majesty of the ocean, and come face to face with some of the most awe-inspiring species on the planet. It features an incredible close encounter with an 80 ft. blue whale! theBlu is already recognized as one the most iconic VR experiences to date (it was a Sundance Film Festival 2016 selection). Before submerging themselves into theBlu, audiences will have traveled around the world at the Opening Gala Presentation with BBC’s Earth: One Amazing Day, narrated by Robert Redford. After the film, learn how to make a hologram with your smartphone. Or step into R2R’s first ever VR-Domain to see more world class VR, including the recently added: MasterpieceVR, an interactive virtual painting, modeling, and sculpting experience that expands the boundaries new technology.
Two youth juries, the Senior Jury for ages 13-18, and the Junior Jury for ages 9-12, will choose the awards for: Best Feature Film, Most Innovative Short Film, and Most Inspirational Short Film. R2R’s Youth Jury Program fosters a deeper appreciation for independent film from Canada and around the globe and begins months before the festival with a free workshop in film criticism. A challenging and interactive experience, the program engages participants to sharpen their critical eye, gain an appreciation for different genres, and learn what makes a film great. Kids and Adults often see things differently, which is why R2R also invites an Adult Jury perspective. Members include: Anne-Mary Mullen (VLAFF, Senior Programmer), Shana Myara (OutTV, Movie Programmer), and Norman Armour (PuSh, Artistic and Executive Director). The Adult Jury will award their pick for Best Film, as well as the Edith Lando Peace Prize, a $500 award to the film that “best utilizes the power of cinema to further the goals of peace and justice”.
The new shorts program Fresh Frames supports early development of social and critical thinking skills for children in grades 1-4. The inaugural selection of Fresh Frames films is entitledCommunicating and Relating, and features the World Premiere of the local short, Dan, by Chloe Xi. R2R’s annual Made in Canada program includes the Canadian Premiere of the shadow-animated gem, Clean Your Room by Vancouver’s Sophie Jarvis and Alicia Eisen. Alli MacKay’slocal short about the overwhelming impact of gender discrimination in school, Flash Flood, will be screening in the No Bully, No Problem program. Alli won the Best Director Award at R2R’s Youth Filmmakers Showcase in 2015. Vancouver-based stop motion animator Amanda Strong’s, Flood, will be screened in the annual Indigenous Spotlight program.