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Hundreds of lantern parade festival-goers packed the Belgrave Cameo on 23 June, for the launch of the Lantern and Light International Children’s Film Festival (LLICFF).

The inaugural and newly announced film festival was a new and exciting part of this year’s Lantern Parade, and is the brainchild of the Ranges Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) Inc and its director, Rainsford Towner.

The not for profit group established 18 months ago runs drama, filmmaking and dance classes for children under the age of 18.

Mr Towner said LLICFF will be a festival of films made by young people, for young people.

The first official festival will be held in 2019, when three days of International and Australian short films, specifically made by young people will be selected and screened, with awards given to the best film in various categories.

“There are not many festivals like this around the world,” Mr Towner said.

“You hear about a lot of children’s film festivals, but most of them are films made for children not by them.”

“Students will be part of the jury and be part of the selection panel.

“They’ll be integrated into the experience themselves and take ownership for it … it will be a great opportunity for budding film makers.”

The festival will have a special regional focus with schools, and individual students will be encouraged to participate.

Mr Towner said international submissions will also be encouraged.

Speaking about his inspiration for the festival, Mr Towner said he wanted LLICFF to host stories from children in other cultures and from other ways of life.

This intercultural adventure would encourage empathy and understanding, and Mr Towner said nothing does that better than film – in particular – films made through the eyes of the children themselves.

“The motivation I have for seeing this happen is that there is an intercultural understanding that evolves from film,” he said

“Filmmaking does it so much better than any other creative medium.”

RAPA is already a big name in the international film-making world, with students from RAPA travelling to Valencia earlier this year, to take part in the MICE International Film Festival.

The festival will primarily cater to local film-makers, though Mr Towner said a submission will open up in February, 2019 for international film-makers.

At the launch, supported by Yarra Ranges Council, Councillor, Mike Clarke, spoke of the great potential the festival has to offer budding film-makers in the region.

On the night a number of films were also screened at the Cameo including the film, 4 Dreams, which was created by local students and shown at the Mice Festival.

 

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