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Salesians asked young people to make short films about hope. They got a big response.

A new international film festival will premiere this week, featuring the winning submissions of young people from 116 countries.  Conceived in December 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first annual Don Bosco Global Film Festival received 1,686 short film submissions on the theme “Moved by Hope.”
A poster for the Don Bosco Global Film Festival. (Photo: dbgyff.com)

A new international film festival will premiere this week, featuring the winning submissions of young people from 116 countries.

Conceived in December 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first annual Don Bosco Global Film Festival received 1,686 short film submissions on the theme “Moved by Hope.”

The best films, chosen by an international jury, will be streamed Nov. 18-19, both online and at physical gatherings in 135 different countries.

Submissions were received until Oct. 15 from filmmakers aged 15 to 30. The short films could be in any genre, with three major categories: live-action shorts under 10 minutes, animated shorts under five minutes, and music videos under five minutes.

The film festival was organized by the Salesians of Don Bosco, who said on their website that they wanted to create “a world-class film festival platform to showcase ... young creative filmmaking talents.”

The festival “strives to embrace, encourage and empower every young person to become the voice of hope and solidarity,” the website said.

Films will be awarded cash prizes in many different categories, including global bests, continental bests, and category bests such as narrative, screenplay, sound design, and editing.

There will also be individual awards for best actor and actress, best writer, and best director.

“Young people always surprise us with their creativity ... I really think that today’s world should believe much more in the value of young people,” the Rector Major (worldwide head) of the Salesians said at a press conference last week.

“We have a proposal for you: for your mind and for your heart,” Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime said in a video addressed to potential participants.

“You, young people, are the architects of the future, signs of hope. And we have great hope in all of you. With you, we want to dream and build a better tomorrow,” he said.

“With your creativity, you can truly help to change the world. I invite you, come and participate in this festival of short films. This is your festival, come and let us move the world with hope.”

The priest added that he was sure that St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesian religious congregation, would be very happy about the film festival.

The saint, commonly called Don Bosco, was an Italian priest who dedicated his life to helping disadvantaged youth through his oratory, where he gave spiritual and practical instruction based on love, rather than punishment.

St. John Bosco is the patron saint of young people and juvenile delinquents.

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