News Column

Love conquers all in youths' film festival submission

August 20, 2014

By Ryan Christner, The Hutchinson News, Kan.

Aug. 20--What do a sword, foam finger and dirt bike helmet all have in common?

They all made handy props to children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson, and you can see them on the big screen as the group's movie makes its premiere at the Third Thursday Short Film Festival.

The four-minute film was shot this summer outside the main entrance to the Hutchinson Public Library. Titled "The Love of Pink and Leather," it is a mash-up of such classic love stories as "Romeo and Juliet," "West Side Story" and "Grease."

"It's quite hilarious," said 15-year-old Jacob Warrington, who played the lead male role. The leader of the Leathers gang, Warrington's character falls in love with the head of the rival Pinks, much to the bewilderment of their peers.

Led by Carl Cohen, program director of science, technology, engineering and math at the nonprofit, the group of 10 children created the film for a movie production class taught by Hutchinson native Geoffrey L. Smith, who now lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

Smith, who has produced, shot and edited videos for major TV networks and private clients for the past two decades, is the video production instructor at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. He also receives freelance sports media assignments with ABC, ESPN, Fox, NBC and Cox Communications.

For the past three summers, he also has been teaching the movie production class in Hutchinson. Last year, Cohen said, children made a stop-motion movie using clay figures.

Pedro Rivera, 15, said the class learns about various shots and angles, as well as other "little things here and there that will help us take better videos."

Smith helped the class focus their ideas, which the children admitted were often wild and crazy, and sometimes a little violent.

"There were so many ideas that were being thrown out," Warrington said. In the end, the love story won out for its practicality.

The movie production class is part of the nonprofit's career technology curriculum, which provides instruction in areas such as farming technology, construction science, woodworking, and electronics and robotics through partnerships with USD 308, K-State Research and Extension and other community entities.

"We don't know who's going to do what," Cohen said. "All we can do is give them the tools to do it."

The class already has inspired Warrington to become more involved in the performing arts, and he said he has signed up to participate in drama at school.

"It was a good time," 14-year-old Aaron Gordon said of the filmmaking experience.

Originally, it was intended that final selections for the film festival would be comprised of three movies from each category: under 18, and 18 and over. But Bob Colladay, who conceptualized the project, said the children of the Boys & Girls Club provided the only entry for the younger division. "The Love of Pink and Leather" now will be shown as a special youth selection.

Also lacking among submissions were local filmmakers. The festival was open to any Kansas resident, but those from the central portion of the state were sought after the most. Among the six final selections, only Jeff Willems, who made "Roger," is a Hutchinson resident, although Wichita'sErich Rumback, creator of "Full Service," was raised here.

Colladay puts the blame on him, saying the late start and short schedule attracted mostly filmmakers who had projects "ready to go."

Other selections include "A Conversation" and "Nick Gets Replaced" by Anthony Bradley and "Home" by B.B. Blank, both of Wichita, and "Pop Tarts" by Kendal Sinn of Kansas City.

"Somewhere Between Freedom and Protection, Kansas," by Patrick Clement of Lawrence is another special selection that will be shown Thursday night. "The Anti-Social Network," a "mockumentary" by Trebor Yadalloc, will make its premiere as well.

All of the films are less than 12 minutes long, and with the exception of "The Anti-Social Network," they're fit for nearly most audiences. A couple of movies feature violence, but it is either very brief or occurs off-screen, Colladay said. And from what he could remember, no obscene language is used.

"At the worst, it would be TV-MA," Colladay said, referencing the television rating that warns some content may be unsuitable for children under 17, "something you would see after 8 o'clock on late-night television."

The movies will be shown at three downtown locations: the Fox Theatre, Stage 9 and the Talon Theater. The showing schedule was organized so the public can watch the films at their leisure while also enjoying other Third Thursday activities, Colladay said.

There is no cost to view the films, which start playing at 5 p.m. Ballots will be available at each venue, and the public will use them to vote for their favorite. Ballots will be collected at 8:15 p.m. at Stage 9, and awards -- called "Thirdees" and handmade by local artists Jennifer Randall and Brady Scott -- will be distributed around 8:45. Seating inside Stage 9 is limited.

Despite the limited submission, Colladay said the process opened his eyes to the number of filmmakers in the state, and he's encouraged about the state of the industry in Kansas.

"I was kind of pleasantly surprised by the amount that was there and the quality of their work," he said.

Colladay will try it all again next year, he said, and he'll start soon enough to give residents more time to make their movies.

The kids down at the Boys & Girls Club already are planning on giving it another go.


(c)2014 The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, Kan.)

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Source: Hutchinson News, The (KS)

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