By Cecelia Cheung
One of the most sought after experiences of our generation is travelling. Every dinner party conversation
inevitably involves at least one story about a friend’s latest exotic travels. Co-workers and relatives plan trips to places far away from home where they can experience unique cultures entirely different than their own. Students arrange courses and programs abroad with that same desire to see a different side of the world and meet people with perspectives unlike their own. We seem to have a common unquenchable wanderlust driven by the transformative impact that cross-cultural experiences has on each and every one of us.
For high school students on the cusp of those travel experiences, film provides a powerful and unique window into life on the other side of the world. And often it can be a deeper, truer and more realistic perspective than the actual experience that travelling may bring. Through film, you can step into the shoes of a young girl, Sonita, as she tries to become the first Afghan rap artist while fighting against her destiny to be sold into marriage. Or step into the life of young Palestinian artists in Junction 48 as they try to find empowerment through music despite the escalating violence and oppression that surrounds them.
This year’s VIFF High School Program films act as a remarkable window into a largely troubled world. These films beautifully depict the similarities in peoples’ attitudes, hopes and aspirations even against the backdrop of vastly different political, social and family structures. The places depicted in these films may not fuel your wanderlust but they certainly have the power to transform perspectives and open our eyes to the world around us.
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