TIFF Kids ’16: CodeGirl

The Technovation Challenge features teams of young women who have acquired resources and the proper pre-production to invent a mobile app.  If accepted in the competition, their team’s ideas must pass through multiple rounds until a winning collaborative is awarded first place along with $10,000 to finalize their project.

The challenge also rewards the team with life experience that helps the participants develop themselves into composed bussinesswomen.  They must learn how to organize their data as well as how to pitch their proposals.  They earn knowledge on how to direct confidence and passion towards an innovative project that could help the world around them.

CodeGirl, Lesley Chilcott’s documentary that chronicles all of this, is an example of a film that has a better concept than its overall execution.  It’s uplifting for movie goers to initially watch these inspired students work hard and establish themselves in a male-dominated industry.  We’re happy for them when they move forward to another level of competition, and feel sympathy for the teams that are unable to progress.

However, Chilcott (who has helped produce Davis Guggenheim’s work including Waiting For Superman and An Inconvenient Truth) doesn’t allow the audience to build a relationship with her subjects.  The film cycles through many teams;  keeping matters open if a group happens to fall by the wayside.  Though we feel bad for losing teams, there’s a sense of disposability in the documentarian’s organization and pacing that unintentionally shows that these teams can be easily replaced.  Also, after introductions, there isn’t much to CodeGirl other than people explaining their app ideas and waiting to hear back from the judges.

CodeGirl may not be much of a movie, but if it helps encourage a young audience that they have the power to invent, then I suppose the doc serves some sort of purpose.

CodeGirl screens at Toronto’s TIFF Kids International Film Festival on Sunday, April 10 at 4:00 pm and Sunday, April 24 at 12:45 pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.


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