Cinema/Chicago News

CineYouth Programmer Picks

Published: April 18, 2022  |  Filed under: Festival News

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After exploring over 350 submissions from 30 countries, the 71 official selections in this year’s CineYouth festival stood out due to their vitality, personality, and innovation. Here, our CineYouth programmers highlight a few selections from the festival that particularly moved them during the selection process.

Headshot: Ryan Saunders

Ryan Saunders

“Now in my fourth year programming for CineYouth, I’m still constantly amazed at the inventive formal approaches these young filmmakers use to tell their stories.”


(Screening as part of the A Family Affair program)

I was deeply moved by this journey, which follows the filmmaker and their mother returning to a childhood home in North Dakota. On a quiet night, the mother projects 8mm home movies onto the side of her childhood farmhouse. Within the frame, we see projected archival footage of a sunny kitchen directly next to that same kitchen’s window. Past and present collide in this image that will never leave my mind.

In Search of Mount Analogue

(Screening as part of the Project a World: Experimental program)

Every now and then, you come across a film that feels as though it were designed specifically for your own enjoyment. This short “adapts” the 1952 French surrealist novel Mount Analogue by creating a 3D computer rendering of the titular mountain. The exploration of these digital crevices is further enhanced by printing these images on 16mm film stock, with mind-expanding results!

Headshot: Carla Correa

Carla Correa

“I’m a sophomore at the University of Chicago and this is my first time working as a programmer. I’ve been absolutely delighted to see the brilliant work of young filmmakers who bring in new perspectives through nuanced storytelling.”

Wolf in Dude’s Clothing

(Screening as part of the Late Night Thrills program)

I was delighted and constantly surprised by this bizarre modern-day fable that expertly employs tension and comedic timing through an exciting and bloody premise. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of industrialization pushing an environmental message.  It’s an exploration of the violent duality of man that highlights the absurdity of being human, reminding us we are really just animals.

I Hope You Remember This Moment

(Screening as part of the A Family Affair program)

I felt such a personal connection to this film because even though it highlights very specific moments and details of the filmmaker’s life, it manages to cast a wide net detailing a universal experience. It gives an insightful account of how we are formed by our memories and how we in turn reconstruct them in specific ways. It is visually stunning including elements from super 8 to animation. This film creates meaning for anyone who watches it and will leave the viewers reflecting on their lives.

Headshot: Ray King

Ray King

“As a local filmmaker myself, I’m honored to be a part of CineYouth for a second year, and to have the pleasure of viewing the work of such talented young filmmakers.”


(Screening as part of the Give Me Strength program)

A stunning portrait of, on the surface, mental health and eating disorders, but deeper, a beautiful sibling bond. This film shines in its simplicity and candidness. There are too many individual standout moments for me to name in this quick blurb. An emotional journey for the filmmaker and viewer alike.

Chico Virtual

(Screening as part of the Searching for Home program)

This film provides a stark commentary on the reality of existing as a family of immigrants in the US, as well as the vulnerability and danger of being visible online. The tension that this film builds is so strong, not only through its storytelling, but in its intuitive sound design and impressive performances. A desire for attention comes with a price.

Headshot: Camryn Tokos

Camryn Tokos

“I am a senior at Columbia College Chicago studying filmmaking. This is my first year as a part of the CineYouth programming team, and I have had such a great time watching all of the creative films that were submitted this year!”

Living Your Truth

(The entire Living Your Truth program)

Every film in this program is unique and striking. With a mix of documentary and narrative films, the program showcases the celebration of identity in such beautiful ways. Such as Dare, a film that explores the complexity of queer relationships without using any dialogue, to One Lift at a Time , a documentary that shows the triumphs and setbacks of a transgender weightlifter. Their stories are incredibly uplifting and well told.


(Screening as part of the Searching for Home program)

A film about the struggle for children to embrace their culture; Miyeok-Guk is an equally adorable and emotional film. I love how sincere and personal this film is, yet the message manages to be universal.

Headshot: Taeya Lowder

Taeya Lowder

“In my first year programming for CineYouth, the talent and style among the younger generation is staggering. I’m excited to share just a fraction of these lovely films. ”

Carry me in

(Screening as part of the Speak, Memory: Documentary program)

I’m immediately struck by the look of the film, and the tender quality of the voice over. This is a recounting of memories, an intimate look into a life changed in an instant. At just under five minutes this short takes you on a quiet, introspective journey that’s simple but holds weight.


(Screening as part of the You Havin’ a Laugh? program)

This film tells a story of a rather complicated problem with a simple solution. Alongside the offbeat humor, the pleasant filming style and spirited acting helps guide you through this (late) coming of age story.

Headshot: Emilio Nieto

Emilio Nieto

“I’m a Mexican-American self-taught filmmaker from the South Side of Chicago that will always advocate for the youth filmmaking experience. I’ve presented two of my own films at past editions of the festival, and being on the other side of the programming committee and catching a glimpse of the next generation’s talent has been nothing short of inspiring. Keep on filmmaking everyone!”

Corazón del Niño (Child’s Heart)

(Screening as part of the Chicagoland program)

This beautiful day-in-the-life Chicago film transports you through a moment in life that is reminiscent of my Chicago childhood: playing futbol in the sunny streets as we dodge cars, getting our ball stuck in a tree as we sit on the hot pavement, and enjoying some refreshing refrescos inside after a long day of play. You can find this sweet, whimsical film in the Chicagoland program!

In Sight

(Screening as part of the Playtime: Animation program)

The stylish and fully-realized In Sight is a warm, whimsical film centered around a Star that isn’t afraid to ask: what does it mean to dream? The film utilizes a radio talk show that serves as an anchor for the city’s temperature; the world building is vibrant and charming! This moving short film can be found within the Animation program, which showcases the many talents of young animation filmmakers, whether it be physical animation such as claymation or stop motion, or digital animation in 2D and 3D!

The CineYouth festival screens in-person April 22-24, 2022, and is available to stream worldwide virtually April 25-May 1, 2022.

Learn more about CineYouth 2022

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