( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) 3rd Annual Real to Reel Global Youth Film Festival Receives Support of Sponsors and Local Celebrities
ENSPIRE Contributor: Djata Doumbouya
This year’s film festival served as a gathering place for filmmakers, innovators, and the creative community. Spearheaded by Founder/Executive Director Syd Stewart and 23-year-old emancipated foster youth and Executive Producer Johna Rivers, the festival supports emerging young filmmakers ages 14-24 whom make original and unique film projects that address issues plaguing their local or global community such as homelessness, foster care, race relations, police brutality, immigration, sexual identity and more.
The morning of the festival began with workshops sponsored and presented by The Rightway Foundation, AT&T, and Wells Fargo Bank. Immediately following the workshops began the red-carpet event with a strong presence by local celebrities. Celebrities in attendance included Award-Winning Actress Edwina Findley (Tyler Perry’s “If Loving You Is Wrong”), Casting Director Leah Daniels-Butler (FOX’s “Empire”), Vanessa Esperanza (CSI New York), Akinyele Caldwell (Disney’s new movie “Magic Camp”), Rory Ogden (ABC’s “WWYD”), Monique Coleman (“High School Musical”), David Bianchi (Netflix’s “Lazarus” / HBO’s “Westworld”), Dianna Cruz (Disney XD’s “Kickn’ It”), Dalton Cyr (Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars”), Jimmy Akingbola (“Holby City” TV Series), Nancy Fifita (CW “Jane The Virgin”), Zachary Haven (Warner Bros. new film “Bastards”), and more.
During the festival, Award-Winning actress Edwina Findley star of Tyler Perry’s “If Loving You Is Wrong” was honored with an award for her contribution to film and television. FOX’s “Empire” casting director Leah Daniels-Butler was on hand to present this award to Findley. The “If Loving You Is Wrong” star joined this year’s filmmakers panel to share her knowledge and give advice to young filmmakers. Additionally, the festival awarded 12 filmmakers and screened over 25 films. Among the filmmakers in attendance to be recognized for their creativity included Caleb Garrett (Best Drama: “Joy Unbroken” and “Pajamas”) and Rowan Quinn & Friends (Best Comedy: “Marcus”).With an amazing support from sponsors Better Youth, The Rightway Foundation, PBS SoCal, The City of Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Film School, AT&T, Wells Fargo Bank, Pacific Western Bank, and many others, the 3rd Annual Real to Reel Global Youth Film Festival was a huge success!
Every year Better Youth presents the Real To Reel Global Youth Film Festival. Better Youth embraces the mission to positively impact a constituency of youth who grew up in impoverished homes by moderating trajectory for youth personal and professional success. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced that Better Youth is one of only 130 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America grant. Jane Chu said “I’m pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Challenge America including the award to Better Youth, Inc. The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives.”