The 17th CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced award winners for its 2022 edition in nine categories, as well as the recipient of this year’s Prodigy Scholarship. This year’s award winners include filmmakers from across the country and around the world, with Kyrgyzstan, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Puerto Rico, New York, Louisiana, California, and Illinois represented. This year’s films were screened in person at FACETS April 22 – 24, and the entire slate of 2022 CineYouth Festival films can be streamed virtually online for free from April 25 – May 1, 2022. A selection of the award-winning films will appear at the Chicago International Film Festival in October 2022.
“Each year we are increasingly impressed with the quality and professionalism of the films we have the honor of showcasing at the CineYouth Festival,” said Ryan Saunders, Programming Director for CineYouth. “Young people today are more media literate than ever before, which results in a slate of films that are exquisitely filmed and produced. They craft compelling stories that audiences of all age groups and backgrounds can relate to.”
Two films in the Festival’s Chicagoland program were honored, with the Chicago Award Presented by DePaul University going to Ping.Pong., directed by Michael Merlino (age 19); and the Social Impact Award Presented by Make It Better Media Group going to Let Us Breathe, by directors Katie Jahns, Liz Frohwein, Ali Wilt, and Alisa Gao (age 22).
Puerto Rico’s Paulís Cofresí (age 16) received the Rising Star Award Presented by Adobe for The Making of My Seasons, which appears in the Give Me Strength program, presenting films that tackle mental health concerns and personal traumas and using the film medium itself as a form of healing.
The 2022 Prodigy Scholarship was awarded to Theo Baldwin Edwards (age 16) of Louisiana, director of Turkey in the You Havin’ A Laugh? program. Edwards will be invited to attend Prodigy’s annual weeklong intensive camp, designed for the most promising young filmmakers from around the world and held just outside of Seattle, Washington.
See the full list of award winners with observations from our juries at our 2022 CineYouth Awards page.