The National Film Festival for Talented Youth turns 10 this year — with 227 films from 24 countries, all made by filmmakers under 25.

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“Should I film this or should I help? What do they think of me standing here with cameras and sound equipment while they starve?”

These were some of the questions 24-year-old Norwegian director Emilie K. Beck asked herself while filming, “There Will Be Boats,” a short film documenting Syrian refugees as they arrive to Greece by boat. It will air at the Seattle-based National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), which kicks off Thursday with a sold-out opening night gala at Cinerama.

“I don’t regret any of the decisions where we chose to help instead of film, [I] can only wish now that we had those powerful moments on film,” Beck wrote in an email. “I still think we managed to catch very powerful and heartbreaking images of the refugees setting their feet on European land for the first time.”

Festival preview

NFFTY

April 28-May 1; opening night at Cinerama, other screenings at SIFF Cinema Uptown. Day passes are $25 adults/$22 youth and give access to all festival screenings, panels and after-parties on that day. Three-day passes $60/$56 (nffty.org).

It’s been 10 years since local teenagers Jesse Harris, Jocelyn R.C. and Kyle Seago founded NFFTY in 2007. This year, 227 films from 24 countries will screen at what has become the largest film festival in the world for young filmmakers ages 5-24.

Beck’s “There Will Be Boats” will be shown during “The Human Race” on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the SIFF Uptown, alongside three other documentary films that, in the festival’s wording, “give voice to the voiceless and illuminate the human condition.”

Those include “Hands Up,” a film by 20-year-old Zinhle Essamuah that documents the activists of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “Dion,” by 21-year-old Jake Oleson, tells the story of a former drug dealer who turns his life around after finding employment at a local bakery. And “Crossing Brooks County,” by three 22-year-olds — Kaley Belval, Nina Lindberg and Eric Cotton— explores the Texas border county known for violence.

NFFTY’s executive director, Stefanie Malone, says she’s floored by the stories these young filmmakers chose to take on.

“This screening in particular has the chance to generate a lot of conversation about things that are affecting all of us,” Malone said. “These issues are being discussed often and it’s nice to hear what younger people think about [them].”

Beck also directed a music video in collaboration with local musician Daniel Halligan. It will be featured in NFFTY’s “Northwest Is Best” on Sunday at 1 p.m., also at the SIFF Uptown.

Beck and Halligan met two years ago at NFFTY, and after viewing each other’s work, agreed to create something together. Despite the 4,000 miles separating them, after one year of emails and file exchanges, a music video for Halligan’s “Another Place Without You” was finished.

“We are all the way across the world literally … Luckily she is just as motivated as I am, which is really rare,” Halligan said.

New to NFFTY this year is a screenplay competition called Story Starts Here: The Uncharted Filmmaker’s Grant, to encourage documentary filmmaking, and The Dorothy Award, which will recognize a filmmaker who has created a complex female protagonist.

Where to see NFFTY films

April 28-May 1; opening night at Cinerama, other screenings at SIFF Cinema Uptown. Day passes are $25 adults/$22 youth and give access to all festival screenings, panels and after-parties on that day. Three-day passes $60/$56 (nffty.org).