What is SIFFY?

SIFFY 2019 theme “Colours”

The Skopelos International Film Festival for Youth (SIFFY) was first created out of a need for Greek students to be offered additional education in the arts. Greek students are taught subjects such as ancient Greek, philosophy, science and math but the arts is virtually left out of the curriculum.

SIFFY was first organized in 2009 after Professor Wangtae Lim from Dong-Ah Institute of Media and the Arts had directed a documentary along with the assistance of Jill Somer, Associate Director of the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts about the Sporades in 2008.  Professor Lim was moved by the island and the people and felt it would be the perfect place to give school children the opportunity to be a part of the filmmaking process.  Professor Lim and Ms. Somer decided to team up and invite two additional directors; Nikos Theodosiou from Camera Zizanio in Pyrgos, Greece and Kalman Czibolya, Director of Zoom to Europe and Asia, in Hungary and the three were able to help the students create three short films with twenty Greek and two American students. Partial funding was given by the Municipality of Skopelos.

The festival lasts one week with two days of educational classes based on the yearly theme and then for the next five days students work in teams of seven to nine with a professional filmmaker to create a short film. The students do everything from creating the initial idea, writing the scenario, camera, directing, acting and then they partially edit the film with the assistance of the professional filmmakers. The last evening the films are screened to the townspeople.

Since 2009, nine festivals have been organized and were funded by private donors through Kickstarter campaigns. In 2020 we will celebrate our tenth anniversary! The festival has grown from three to sixteen filmmakers from countries such as America, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Greece, India, Italy, Nepal, Mexico, S. Korea, Spain and Turkey with approximately 125 children participating ages 6 – 18. The films are screened at the Amphitheater in downtown Skopelos to an audience of about one thousand people. The films are then circulated to festivals throughout the world. Films from various years have been screened in America, Asia and Europe.