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Tomorrow's Spielbergs get a film festival of their own

The recent National Film Festival for Talented Youth showcased movies by directors ranging in age from 9 to 21.

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After spending his summer vacation studying what causes conflict, eight-grader Angad Singh decided to do something about it. He picked up a camera.

The result was "One Light," a 22-minute movie in which he and 10 of his Atlanta-area neighbors talk about who they are, where they came from, and what they believe.

"A movie is something everyone can enjoy," says Angad, an audience-award winner at the recent National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). "It's something that captures your senses and touches you on the inside."

Easy access to digital technology has caused an explosion in filmmaking, especially among kids who have grown up with it. Organized by young filmmakers for young filmmakers, NFFTY – pronounced "nifty" – offered 73 youth-made films over three days with genres ranging from documentary to animation to experimental to horror. The youngest filmmaker is age 9.

"These are extremely high-quality productions. If you saw them in a theater, you wouldn't realize that they were made by kids," says chief organizer Jesse Harris. The festival's purpose was to showcase the diversity of work being done by filmmakers under 21 and give them a chance to connect with adults in the industry, says the 22-year-old who, at 17, sunk his college savings into his first film, "Living Life." The feature scored theatrical release and distribution. NFFTY cofounders Jocelyn R.C. and Kyle Seago, both 18, were veteran filmmakers before they even left for college last fall.

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