Film,Marc Buckland

Kids describe their experience making movies for festival at Rock Hall

November 5, 2016
in Kids

Ryan Levine on the red carpet at the Kids Film It Festival at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday. (Patrick Cooley, cleveland.com) CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Most of the participants in a children's film festival held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Friday evening said they had made videos before. But for many, Friday marked their first chance to show their work to anyone other than friends and family (or YouTube followers). More than 60 kids from across the country between 8 and 18 years old submitted videos for the Kids Film It Festival. Of those submissions, 26 videos were chosen as finalists and screened in the theater on the fourth floor of the Rock Hall Friday. The content ranged from ghost stories, to whacky adventures, to stories set in the zombie apocalypse. A particularly emotional video followed a bullied girl recounting her experiences. Ryan Levine, a Hawken School seventh-grader, organized the festival as a way to raise money to research Parkinson's Disease, a condition that afflicts his grandmother. Several entrants described making short films before they learned of the contest, but said the festival gave them their first opportunity to show their work to an audience. Jake Mangini, 12, of Chagrin Falls, said he's made super hero and space fantasy movies. "But I wanted to try something different," he said of the film he entered into the festival That something ended up being a music video of the 21 Pilots song "Stressed Out," sung by a narrator longing for the simplicity of youth. This video marked the "first time I entered it into something where people have watched it," he said. "It was really cool to see it on the big screen and seen it come to life." Participants entered short films, music videos and animated videos into the contest that ranged from 30 seconds long to more than five minutes. Lisa Levine, Ryan's mother, reached out to Marc Buckland — an Emmy-award winning producer and director — and George Cheeks — head of NBC late-night entertainment — who agreed to act as judges. Both men are from Cleveland. The winners and runners up received Netflix and Best Buy gift cards. As of Friday, more than $20,000 had been raised for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research through an affiliated auction on charitybuzz.com. Four of the kids who entered the festival spoke with a cleveland.com reporter about their experience making their movies. Their inspiration Festival participants listed a variety of inspirations for their videos. "In middle school it's hard growing up, and 'Stressed Out' really represented that," Jake said. "It was meaningful to me." Arman Taheri, 11 of Shaker Heights...

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