Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
For a person whose made his living with his mouth and words, the support and growth given to the Shorties has silenced me.
The Sylvania Community Arts Commission’s (SCAC) Tree City Film Festival(TCFF) kicked off last night at Northview High School with the 2014 Shorties. This uniquely fun family night was a silly concept I once had and the SCAC was brave enough to give it a go.
The Shorties’ premise was simple; challenge school-aged children to create movies and or videos with those desperately-wanted gadgets like the Apple iPod Touch or iPad. Have a showcase and platform for children to do something more than text or Facebook on their $200+ devices.
I am a dreamer, I can not make it stop though there are many days I wish I could. I envisioned this event to have a red carpet, paparazzi, posters, t-shirts and children wanting to dress up to be a part of it all; If The Oscars and the Nick Choice Awards were to have a baby.
When we launched last year we had a limited amount of time to plan, but the TCFF committee was able to book a venue, borrow a red carpet, get people to take photographs… all we needed was the movies and for the kids to buy into this dream. The movies came and slowly kids started dreaming of something different than shooting the winning basket or walk-off home runs.
Even after the success of the Inaugural Shorties , I wanted it to be bigger than Sylvania, more regional, cross school district lines. I wanted to reach children who’s dreams may be limited because of home situations or location. I also wanted a better quality movie. These thoughts were the inspiration for Shorties U.
To further grow what was started last year with the Shorties, the SCAC again allowed me a vehicle to inspire kids to do something more. Shorties U’s 2014 Inaugural class featured 53 children from NW Ohio and as far away as Detroit. Over four-straight Saturday mornings, from Mid February to Mid March, our future filmmakers were surrounded by some of the area’s most talented people. Each Saturday’s curriculum evolved; the students learned where ideas begin, how to storyboard, write a script, hold the camera the right way, different kind of camera shots and every week featured Julia Koralewski from the Mac Cafe who taught the ins and outs of editing and tricks for their devices.
Each week our goal was simple, to inspire. The children got to participate in a surprise concert and filming of a music video with a Kerry-Lynn Roche, an American Idol contestant who was just told “no” to the Hollywood live show only days before. She went from that fateful elevator ride to Shorties U. The children also got to meet and learn about Myles Eckert, the 8 year-old boy whose small act of paying-it-forward has now raised close to $1 million dollars and has been seen by over 20 million people. He went from Shorties U to Ellen Degeneres. The lesson was simple, 8 year old children can change the world with a camera and a great story.
Last night’s Shorties showed the rewards from all of the very hard work and planning that went behind it. It humbled me.
After hundreds of hours of our time, we got to see if the SCAC and specifically the Shorties moved the needle, if we inspired a child, did we reach outside the 43560 and make a difference.
I am so proud to say we did. We saw it in the improved movies, the new faces and grander support.
My participation with the SCAC and the person responsible for making the Shorties happen is Jennifer Archer. A woman and mother who inspires me with her compassion and dedication to making a difference in our community. She is my #1 apologizer before and after I leave the room, my partner in believing and trying to do things bigger. Jennifer is the Type-A to my cray. Not only are her children blessed to have this woman in their lives, so are the kids across NW Ohio, they just might not know it yet. Mrs. Archer is a champion for unseen dreams.
I wish to also say Thank You to everyone on the TCFF Committee, especially SCAC President Laura Jakes…the judges from last night; WTOL’s Ali Hoxie, Toledo Free Press movie critic James A Molnar and local Instagram king Eric Shanteau a.k.a. Hobbes2485. Thank You to Don Wachowiak and his Northview staff for this incredibly generosity. Every person who volunteered their time for anything Shorties related… I love you all.
Finally I wanted to show you just some of the films we debuted last night… Each one of these movies has a moment, a shot or some words that confirmed my beliefs; if you build it, they will dream.
UPDATE (12-10-14): Shorties U will be back and is scheduled from February to March of 2015. Sign-ups will happen in EARLY January. Make sure to LIKE the following Facebook Pages for Updates:
and of course the organization responsible, The Sylvania Community Arts Commission
Here are some videos made from students of Shorties U
Kiki Kitty Life’s by Meghan Przeslawski
The Lego Box by Andy Megeath
Last night’s WINNER.. The Haunting on Tamworth by the Vargas boys (Sons of former Olympic Boxer Devin Vargas)
Kids These days by TSA Student Morgan Harrison
The Unknown Hour by Noah Archer (featuring the girl pictured above)
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