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Greenwich Botanical Center hosts Youth Film Festival Awards

March 11, 2019

GREENWICH — The Greenwich Botanical Center will host the eighth annual Greenwich Youth Film Festival Awards, featuring a keynote address from actor and filmmaker Kabir Chopra.

The festival promotes filmmaking as a form of local environmental activism, a method for visual storytelling utilizing media tools among area youth.

Last month more than 50 films were submitted to the GYFF from high school students throughout the Fairfield and Westchester County region. The festival is a component of the Fairchild Challenge STEAM program at the Greenwich Botanical Center and is hosted in partnership with Greenwich Library, the Avon Film Center Theatre, and the Greenwich Arts Council.

The winning films will be screened followed by an awards reception, free to attendees, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 25, at the Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium.

Based in New York, Chopra has appeared in several films and TV series, including “Two-Grown,” “Madam Secretary” and “Horror Time,” which he also co-wrote. Kabir is also the creator and star of the series “Swiped to Death,” which explores the messy realities of online dating. He has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in dramatic writing from New York University’s Tisch School and has trained at The PIT, The Stella Adler Studio, and The Michael Warner Studio.

Registration through the Greenwich Botanical Center website is required to attend this GYFF Awards event at https://greenwichbotanicalcenter.org/event/greenwich-youth-film-festival-2019/.

Participants are part of an award-winning, interdisciplinary, environmental science competition.

“Each nonprofit organization helps to play a role in this festival’s vital growth. The Junior League of Greenwich successfully launched this project in 2011-12 transitioning it to the community in 2016,” said Meg McAuley Kaicher, GYFF co-chair and GBC board president.

The judging aligns with specific academic criteria: The GYFF is now a part of the Fairchild Challenge at GBC. The Fairchild Challenge was designed by GBC’s sister organization, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Fla.

The Fairchild Challenge has been recognized as a benchmark for STEM education and for empowering students to become the next generation of scientists, researchers, educated voters, policymakers, and environmentally minded citizens. Since last year, GYFF has communicated with multiple community partners to expand the breadth of GYFF touching underserved students as well as those engaged already in filmmaking programs.

The Town of Greenwich Conservation Commission and GPS PTAC Green Schools support the initiative along with Faculty advisers.

“Our teachers and students can build credibility, we reach out to over 100 schools and share cutting-edge filmmaking, media, and entertainment resources from multiple industry experts relevant to students considering further study or engagement with the broad array of jobs in the media and entertainment fields,” said Chojar, who co-chairs the event.

Films are accepted and first, second and third place awards are given in social action; creative; documentary; animation; and experimental.

Best of Festival and Best Film Poster will also be awarded, along with first, second and third place in Best First Year Film Student Submission.

There is a $10 registration fee for film submissions and scholarships are available as needed. For more information please email the GYFF division at Greenwich Botanical Center at gyff@greenwichbotanicalcenter.org. More information about the Fairchild Challenge, enrollment forms, and details on all challenges are posted at www.greenwichbotanicalcenter.org.

The Greenwich Botanical Center is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to promoting horticulture, conservation, and the arts through educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.

It is located within the Montgomery Pinetum, in Cos Cob, with greenhouses, a teaching vegetable garden, classrooms, pond, and collections of evergreens, woodland trails, wildflowers, as well as a peony garden, old stone structures, sculptures, and a gift shop.