There’s something special happening at the Colonial Theater. It’s the 10th Annual Kiwanis Teen Film Festival in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a tight-knit community that’s quietly becoming Mecca for teen filmmaking. Young filmmakers come from as far away as the western reaches of Wyoming for this one night of film.
The idea for the festival started in 2003, when Idaho Falls Kiwanis Club member Steve Parry saw his nephew’s snowboarding video and thought there should be a place for youth to show off their hard work. He took his ideas to his Kiwanis club, and together they started organizing the first film festival in 2004.
“First year I went, I was blown away by what these kids can make,” says Marci Dimick, executive director of the festival. “You can see the kids really take the time to storyboard, to think about what they want to make, their shots, their lighting, props, location, costume and makeup. Just amazing those that really get into it, the quality of film that comes out.”
Sharon Parry, president of the Idaho Falls Kiwanis Club, knows how important this event is to the community.
“We find that teenagers are often recognized for their sports, or for music, for theatrical events, but not for film,” Parry says. “So this has really filled a niche to recognize teenagers who are developing, budding artists in the film industry. There’s been a lot of rallying behind the film festival, and Idaho Falls has really adopted it as a great event.”
It’s showtime! The theater’s cathedral of space where family, friends and strangers have gathered quiets with tense anticipation. The emcee calls out a filmmaker’s name.
Cheers and applause, followed by awards and feedback from the judges. The lights go down, and the youth’s film towers 35 feet above the crowd. Sound booms across the aisles, shaking the walls and vibrating the floor. It’s powerful and inspiring.
There, under the cover of darkness, stories are woven: fears and horrors, personal triumphs, passions for dancing and running, superpowers, car crashes, art house to animation, films of incredible personal feat and emotionally tender thoughts on death. It’s the human drama of moments, those little things that make the disparate audience feel together. — Curtis Billue
Read more and watch videos on the Kiwanis magazine iPad app, available on the Newsstand (English).