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News : Arts Mar 2, 2011 - 4:58 AM

WestonArts awards Youth Film Festival $2,500 grant

By Kate Lupo

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WYFF 2011 Board of Directors: From left: (top) Sef Jones, Alex Swerdlowe, Sammy Warshaw, Ryan Beckwith, Michael Kalmans, Billy Richling, Sara Fayngolz, (second row from left): Nick Wingate, Jonathan Naar, Joey Depasquale, Emma Gantz, Matt Kalmans, Jack Curran, Matt Silverman, (front row from left): Dakota Sloop, Ricky Rivera.
WestonArts organization recently recognized the Westport Youth Film Festival (WYFF) with a $2,500 grant. WYFF is both an annual film festival that showcases the work of high school filmmakers from around the world, as well as a year-round film program that inspires community dialogue on the art of film through screenings and events open to Fairfield County residents and local teens.

While WYFF is a program of the Westport Arts Center in Westport, CT, the festival has always had deep roots in the Weston community. WYFF was started by Weston High School students Chris Casey, Emma Wiseman, and David Burstein in 2003, and each year a high percentage of WYFF’s Youth Board members hail from Weston High. This year, thirteen of the twenty Youth Board members are WHS students, including WYFF Festival Director, Matt Kalmans.

WYFF Program Director, Kate Lupo, said “WYFF’s Weston ties are very important to our organization. I, myself, am a Weston native and am constantly reminded of the incredible support WYFF has in this town—particularly within the Weston School system and in the classroom of WHS Videography teacher, Dave Eger, who has done so much to promote the young filmmakers and leaders who decide to participate in WYFF each year. We are proud to be supported by WestonArts, an organization that recognizes the importance of programs like WYFF that work to empower student creativity and leadership through the arts.”

The WestonArts Board released this statement about the grant: “Since its grassroots inception, WYFF has served as a vehicle to motivate and inspire young filmmakers in our community and beyond. WYFF has developed into a meaningful and long lasting institution, and is now a destination for motivated film students from all over the US. WestonArts is honored to support WYFF in its annual quest to provide a platform for talented filmmakers. May Sundance be the next stop!”

The WestonArts grant will help support WYFF programming and the production expenses of the annual festival, which will showcase students films from all over the world. This year, WYFF hopes to receive its most impressive films to date. WYFF’s new online platform for film submissions, powered by INDEE.TV, is now open for submissions. The online platform makes it easy for youth filmmakers from around the world to submit their films through the WYFF website: All filmmakers high school age or younger are encouraged to submit their films for consideration in the 2011 WYFF Festival. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2011.

WestonArts is a volunteer organization whose mission is to raise funds to promote and develop the arts in Weston. The organization is known for its $300,000 Weston High School Auditorium Seat Campaign, which was conducted in support of the Weston High School Auditorium renovation project. WestonArts continues to provide grants to the Weston School District, Weston Social Services, and Weston Commission for the Arts, among others.

WYFF is a program of the Westport Arts Center and is sponsored by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, COX Radio, EILEEN FISHER, GRAPHISH Studios, Newman's Own Foundation, Robeks Juice, Square Squared, Tiffany & Co., WestonArts, Westport Pizzeria, Westport Sunrise Rotary, Wishlist of Westport, and other businesses and donors in the local community.

For information about the Westport Youth Film Festival, please call 203-222-7070 x112 or email You may also visit WYFF’s website:

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