“You’re tearing me apart!” yelled a delinquent James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause at his clueless parents when they refused to listen or understand his teenage troubles. How things have changed — there's even a mini-festival at Barbican this week dedicated to the teen experience, and aiming to help 12-18 year olds understand the film industry and find possible careers within it.
Focus Festival 2015 has been curated with the Barbican Young Programmers to speak directly to young people with a special programme of films from around the world, plus workshops and shorts by younger filmmakers.
The screenings include a preview of Girlhood, which is described as “a raw, raucous but tender look at a group of teenagers living in the tough suburbs of Paris.” And there’s the UK premiere of creature feature Danny’s Doomsday about monsters caused by climate change chasing two squabbling brothers; and there's the premiere of award-winning Polish film Baby Blues, which depicts the ups and downs of teen parenting.
There’s also the politically incorrect comedy Keep Rollin’, about a boy in a wheelchair who decides to rob a petrol station. And from Sweden comes Lukas Moodyson’s We Are The Best! telling the tale of a punk girl band, and also Pure starring Alicia Vikander as a girl who finds a possible path out of poverty via classical music.
There will also be screenings of shorts made by young London filmmakers from the BFI Film Academy Network Programme. And expert advice will also be available with a session on video effects from BAFTA; story-telling with writer-director James Walker from the Young Film Academy; and Chocolate Films who will have a free Pop Up Media Studio where you can try out the latest equipment to make your own short film.
Focus Festival 2015 is on at Barbican from 12-15 March in Cinemas 1, 2 and 3.