The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend : 2019-04-27

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blood Horror’s new A young actor-director is teaching kids how to face their biggest fears through horror films, writes Angira Bharadwaj M parents may worry that their children are dabbling in the horror genre but says looking at frightenin­g or concerning themes can be a self-esteem and mental health booster for many young people. “It’s not about suppressin­g emotions. It’s about expressing emotions creatively through art,” he says. “Horror doesn’t just mean blood. It can be a psychologi­cal thriller or about real world pressures. It could be a victim running away from a knife or it could be a spider trapped in your bedroom. “It’s your interpreta­tion of horror.” any young film fans would remember the scene in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban where Professor Remus Lupin helps his young students banish their biggest fears through the spell “riddikulus”. Curly Fernandez is like Lupin in many respects but, instead of magic, the actor and director uses filmmaking to get young creative talents to overcome what they are most scared of. Fernandez founded Bloodfest Kids Horror Film Festival in 2017 with co-director Natalie Richards. It was born from a desire to liberate young people from the rules bounding them. After graduating from the West Australian Academy Of Performing Arts, Fernandez began teaching and directing children through his various roles at the Australian Theatre For Young People and Bell Shakespear­e. “We were trying to get young people to be super creative but there were all these rules in place,” Fernandez tells BW Magazine. “I got very concerned with how I could allow young people to feel completely free despite what society felt. There were so many rules surroundin­g their lives.” The festival of five-minute films has three categories: children younger than 14 years old, teenagers aged 15-17 and, for the first time, university students aged 18-25. The winning films get a cash prize and trophy along with a screening at the World Film Fair in New York. Fernandez hopes that seeing their work appreciate­d by an internatio­nal audience will fill the next generation of filmmakers with the confidence to push boundaries. “Look at Grimm fairytales and the plays and stories that young people are a part of — they don’t shy away from fear, they actually enjoy the freedom of it,” he says. “We are asking young people to deconstruc­t fear and reconstruc­t it objectivel­y through these films. You might be dealing with themes that you might find scary, but it has been deconstruc­ted by the filmmakers in an objective way.” Young people … don’t shy away from fear, they actually enjoy the freedom of it F is a great starting point to understand how to engage audiences.” Woods says his own career began much the same way — watching horror movies and TV shows and play acting with his sister. “I made a bunch of stuff as a kid,” he says. “That learning process is critical to emerging filmmakers’ understand­ing of screen language.” And Woods says at a time when technology has made filmmaking more accessible, it’s important to get the next generation involved. “The entertainm­ent business is now relearning ways to treat one another,” he says. “A lot of the safe workplace ideas coming to the fore now at last are very important lessons to teach kids about being respectful and collaborat­ive.” ilmmaker Rowan Woods is one of the jury members chosen to judge these interpreta­tions of horror. The acclaimed filmmaker, best known for The Boys (1998), says it is crucial that kids learn how to tackle tension and conflict creatively from a young age. “For me, all good movies like all good storytelli­ng requires tension and conflict,” he says. “Making films and even parroting what master writers and directors have done Bloodfest Kids Horror Film Festival entries are open now until September 13 at He admits that some 09 V1 - TELE01Z01W­E PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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