Meet Ava Brown-Mantha, Youth Shorts Programmer

Meet Ava Brown-Mantha, a third year Film and Media student at Queen’s and the Youth Shorts Programmer with the Kingston Canadian Film Festival.  I sat down with her to ask her a few questions about herself and her experience with KCFF.


By Claire Gray


Introduce yourself and tell me about your experiences with KCFF.

I started working for KCFF when I was in first year- so this is my third year with the festival. I quickly became very fond of the work and still am, which is why I’m still working with them! KCFF provides really great opportunities for students, such as myself, to help run the festival. We ran the Youth Shorts program during my first year and I remember being really nervous, thinking something was going to go wrong. But it all went really great – we are now entering our third year running the program and I think I’m doing an alright job!

Why do you think it’s critical for younger generations to be involved in filmmaking?

It’s critical because we live in such a visual culture these days, film is so commonplace and it’s much easier than it was say 10-20 years ago to be making film.

Film is also a really powerful tool that can be used to not only express ourselves creatively but to also shine light on issues that normally don’t get attention.  So in that regard, I feel film can be really political and a means for activism which excites me, personally.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Hopefully making films! If not making them, showing them at festivals or even studying them.

Tell me about some movies that inspired you growing up.

Definitely the 1986, studio ghibli film, Castle in the Sky. I saw that when I was maybe 7 years old, and it totally blew my mind, and I remember thinking it was far superior to any Disney film I’d ever seen. I was making astute observations like that when I was 7 (laughs at self). It really did push the boundaries of my imagination, even as a kid, and that’s why I love it.

Also the 2007 film, Juno. I remember falling in love with Juno’s character. She is just this tough, young woman who lives the most honest existence – she is truly admirable.

What is it like to work for KCFF? Is it fun to be involved with film festivals?

Working for KCFF is a lot of fun.  Every year is different and you never quite know what you will get up to because there’s a range of tasks that need to get done. I have met many interesting people and seen some really cool films throughout my years with the festival, so it’s always been a positive experience for me.

Finally, I want you to sell Youth Shorts to me in one sentence.

The KCFF Youth Shorts Program is a great opportunity for young filmmakers to showcase their work in a festival setting, introducing them to the festival process as well as fellow filmmakers with whom they can hopefully collaborate with in the future.


Claire Gray
Claire is an administrative intern for KCFF, as well as student at Queen’s, completing her third year of Film and Media Studies. In her future, she hopes to attend grad school studying either Québecois cinema or a case study on cinema and the suburbs.