Unicef Hong Kong wants young people to make themselves seen and heard.
Every year, the charity holds the Make A Video Contest, in which teens aged between 12 and 18 film a minute-long video on a particular topic. These videos allow young people to discuss issues which are important to them, and share thoughts which they might otherwise find difficult to talk about.
Last year’s theme, “To Mum and Dad”, received a record number of entries covering a wide range of issues, from the struggles of watching your parents go through a divorce to life as a foster child.
This year’s theme, “I am Me”, encourages young people to explore their own identities, which is an important part of growing up.
“This exploration can happen through your whole life, but it’s highly important in this stage of development,” said Natasha Warren-James, a counsellor for children and young adults. “Your ideas of how you see yourself may clash with other people’s perception, which can be tricky, but you need to step out of your secure bubble as you start becoming who you are as an individual.”
The theme also allows Hong Kong teens to play an active role in shaping society’s perception of them. The videos will provide our city’s adults the chance to see the world through the eyes of its younger generation, and gain a better understanding of their hopes, anxieties and ideas.
As part of the contest, director Frank Hui hosted a sharing session on August 1 in which he talked about his own career journey and gave advice to young filmmakers.
He encouraged teenagers to be aware of what’s happening in society, and to pay attention to stories, cultures and traditions.
“To me, movies are about life, and life is the society and world around you,” said Hui. He explained that when he can’t draw from his own experiences, he draws inspiration from the stories of others. “Even in the shortest stories, imagination is infinite,” he said.
Working in a creative industry can be difficult, as art will always divide opinions. Hui encouraged potential directors to never back down from failures and to be courageous about the story they want to tell. He also hopes for uniqueness in their ideas.
“Remember, a year as a director means one day of being a star and 364 days of thinking, planning, and facing failure. Being a director is a long journey, so focus on the fun rather than the outcome.”
The deadline for the “Make A Video Contest 2017” is 21 August 2017.