When you think of an independent film festival,

you don’t normally associate it with 19 year old young men, but that is exactly what makes the 2017 Elijah Wells Youth Indie Film Festival unique.  Not only is Elijah Wells the creator of his very own youth film festival, but he is also a 19 year old film director who has been in the film industry for 9 years.  If you are doing the calculations in your head right now, yes that does mean that he was 10 years old when he first got a taste of what is sure to be a lifetime legacy.

On June 2nd -3rd the 2nd annual EWYIFF was held at The Lyric Theatre in Historic Overtown.

This had to be the most impressive way to kick off Miami Film Month.  Not only were there celebrities in attendance (such as Romeo Miller who was the ambassador of the festival)and tons of industry professionals, but the master classes and panel discussions were informative and inspirational. This year the festival received hundreds of submissions from around the world but only 12 made the cut for viewing and judging. There were short films, documentaries, and featured films all of which were of top quality.  Although one film in particular really stood out to me. “Eyes That Have Seen The Glory” directed by Kendrick Anderson was a short film about a group of male slaves and their journey to spiritual freedom.  The searingly intense portrayal of black bodies sweating profusely, running through the Louisiana swamps engulfed in fear, demanded the hair on the back of my neck to stand up and pushed a cold chill down my spine.  The fact that the film won first place that night was of no surprise.

What Elijah Wells is giving back to the youth is something invaluable.  It’s the ability to visualize themselves within positions that will change the way the world perceives  life. He’s providing them with a treasure chest full of knowledge and wisdom and planting seeds of creativity that will grow beautiful narratives.  The Elijah Wells Youth Indie Film Festival is breathing fresh breath into the lungs of young, impressionable, brilliant creatives, and that is the perfect way to give back to your people.  I believe I speak on behalf of majority of the black community when I say; we appreciate The Elijah Wells Youth Indie Film Festival and looking forward to its growth.