More than 200 students and 25 schools have signed on for The Lantern and Light International Children’s Film Festival.
Last year the Ranges Academy of Performing Arts announced that a new film festival for kids aged six to 18 would take place at the Belgrave Cameo this year and coincide with the Belgrave Lantern Festival.
The not-for-profit organisation runs classes for young people in film making, drama and dance.
The festival is shaping up to be a huge success in its first year and RAPA director Rainsford Towner said the films that were being produced would tackle some serious questions.
“There are all types of genres, including comedies and there’s some even more serious topics that are tackled,” he said.
“One of the films a school is producing is about gender equality…it’s a simple story of a boy who walks into the classroom wearing a dress.“
Ten schools throughout the Yarra Ranges are taking part in the festival and RAPA will be submitting movies of its own.
Mr Towner said the group had also received a number of international movies, which will be screened on the Belgrave Lantern Festival weekend.
“It’s really just about giving these kids a voice about what’s important to them,” he said.
“Once they realise these films are going to be seen by people and will be on the big screen they start to see there is something they can talk about and it’s not just a project to satisfy the curriculum…they’re being looked at and listened to, so we’re really excited to see what’s coming out of these films.“
The three-day program will run from 20 to 23 June.