Second Granite Youth Film Festival kicks off with panel event

Five groups of regional youth gathered at Epping Middle School to pitch their visions for original short films dealing with substance abuse prevention. It was the second annual panel event, hosted by United Way of the Greater Seacoast and the Granite Youth Alliance, a regional youth leadership council.

Students presented their ideas for the films along with budgets to a panel of United Way staff and community volunteers. The end result will be a series of student-produced films to be premiered at O’neill Cinemas for the second annual Granite Youth Film Festival and subsequently shown at schools and events.

“We have some alarming trends here in New Hampshire, whether were talking about underage alcohol or marijuana use,” said Sandi Coyle, Substance Misuse Regional Coordinator. “These projects our youth are presenting will make a difference in the lives of their peers.”

Youth teams from Epping, Newmarket, Portsmouth, Raymond and Dover were represented, outlining their projects to volunteers from the local film and theatre industry, media companies and the substance abuse prevention field. The panelists offered feedback and suggestions to the youth, before awarding them $500 grants from United Way to produce their films.

“It’s amazing to see these young people talk about subjects that are actually happening and they’re experiencing,” said Colby Gamester, attorney for Gamester Law Office in Portsmouth and guest panelist. “To see them addressing these issues is exciting.”

“We’re thrilled to be sponsoring the Film Festival for the second year,” said Mark Whitney, Vice President of Strategy at Exeter Health Resources, United Way Regional Council member and panelist. “This is such an inspiring project.”