Archive for February, 2010

Beloit International Film Festival Hosts “You make the movie!”

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

elsalon2.jpgFor the second year, the Beloit International Film Festival has reached out to thousands of local kids during their winter film festival. Film festivals, consider using this model to expand your community outreach and increase attendance and awareness for your own festival.
This year, over 1,500 kids participated during the week in a remarkable Junior Film Critics workshop where the kids screened films with an Hispanic theme, El Salon Mexico, El Duelo, Manantial and Cuento de la C, had lively discussions and wrote reviews about what they saw.
The Saturday free lineup at the local library featured the theme “You make the movie!” The kids had a blast learning about making film.
First they learned about some of the major components of production from volunteers from the Beloit Memorial High School Theater Department. Then the kids chose what role they would like to play in producing a short film. Again, with the assistance of the Beloit facilitators, they wrote a script, rehearsed and prepared actors, directed the filming of the movie and then helped produce it.
The KIDS FIRST! Sunday screenings consisted of a shorts program of:
The Little Drummer Boy: Joyful music and Ezra Keats’ glowing illustrations combine to celebrate the nativity in this new iconographic adaptation of the classic Christmas song.
One Zillion Valentines: Two enterprising friends, Milton and Marvin, prove that valentines are for everyone by making, giving away, and selling one zillion special ones.
Sam and the Lucky Money: In this colorfully illustrated story, Sam goes with his mother to Chinatown on Chinese New Year’s day to spend his traditional gift of lucky money on whatever he chooses.
Gustafer Yellowgold’s Mellow Fever: Gustafer comes to Earth in his Sunpod and lands in Minnesota where he live out his dream of a cooler existence, making new and interesting friends along the way.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place– a pigeon! But you’ve never met one like this before.
The first feature opened with a short, Devil in the Drain.  A devil in the drain who likes pretzels leads to unexpected twists. Based on a Daniel Pinkwater story and followed by Etienne!: After Richard’s best and only friend, a dwarf hamster named Etienne, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to take him on a bicycle road trip up the California coast to show hi the world before he must put him to sleep.
The final feature presentation was Broken Hill: Tommy was born and raised on a rocky, drought-ridden sheep station in the middle of the Australian Outback. He works at the station and does all he can to appease his demanding father but in his heart he wants to be a great musician. that all changes when Tommy meets his new classmate Kat, a bold and brash beauty, who at first doesn’t notice him at all.
Congrats again to Rod Beaudoin, Jason Vincent and all the staff on making film fun and available to kids and families!

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This week’s film festival spotlight is on two feature films, Jake’s Corner and The Magistical

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

jakescorner2.jpgJake’s Corner is the story of an ex-football star, Johnny Dunn, who walked away from the game early in his career to live a relatively secluded life far from the spotlight in a small desert town he owns, called Jake’s Corner. Johnny’s quiet life is altered dramatically when he is forced to care for his young nephew, Spence.


The story flows well and stars Richard Tyson as Johnny Dunn, Diane Ladd as Fran and Danny Trejo as Clint. If, as a kid, you ever fantasized about going to live with your favorite uncle or aunt, who is slightly unconventional, this gives you an ideal of what it might be like. We aged it up due to the story taking place in a bar that the uncle owns and the fact that the parents’ death is hidden from the child.

Jake’s Corner. Live Action. 97 minutes. Recommended Age 10-15 


magistical2.jpgIn the tale of The Magistical, an evil draken, an eccentric emperor, a corpulent king, a war, a mess of midgeons and a friend in need must be saved by one small boy who must leave to believe.


This beautifully animated feature weaves a tale about learning to believe in yourself and expresses themes of friendship and love. The animation quality is simply outstanding and beautiful. The storyline takes a while to take off, then wanders a bit but pulls it together in the end. I watched this with an 8-year-old who wiggled around for the first 15 to 20 minutes but after that, stayed with it, even explaining to me at times what was going on.


The Magistical. Animated. 99 minutes. Recommended Age 8-12 

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