CLEVELAND, Ohio – The red carpet was rolled out for last night’s second annual Kids Film It Festival at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. An evening of glitz and glamour celebrated young movie makers from across the country.
Kids Film It is the brainchild of Hawken eighth-grader Ryan Levine. After his grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, Levine launched the Kids Film It competition as a way to raise money for a cure.
This year, the festival brought in $46,000, with all proceeds directly benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The 2016 festival raised $32,000. Donations can still be made through December to reach their $60,000 goal.
It all culminates with the public screening, where the films are shown and awards are handed out.
At the big event, attendees strutted along the step and repeat for photo opps and mixed and mingled with other young creatives.
The fest kicked off with an opening statement by Levine and a screening of a short film about Jimmy Choi, an athlete with Parkinson’s. Levine and Choi met during a Fox Foundation banquet, and reunited to document Choi’s time in Cleveland as a competitor on “American Ninja Warrior” when it was filmed in Public Square this May.
Viewers were treated to films from each of the three categories: animation, music video and shorts. Entrants compete in the following age divisions: 8-11; 12-14; and 15-18. Each screening was followed by the announcement of winners. One winner from each age group in each category received either a GoPro camera or a $500 gift card to Best Buy.
Films were chosen by a panel of celebrity judges made up of Todd Lieberman, producer of films such as the Academy Award-winning “The Fighter,” Ivan Schwarz, President of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission and Marc Buckland, director and producer of work including “Linda from HR” and “Powerless.”
Between the showings, the festival played a video of interview of Lieberman, a Cleveland native, and Levine.
“Each unique person has their own unique voice, and the best thing to do is find what that voice is,” Lieberman advised the young filmmakers. “And the only way to do that is continually try.”
Schwarz made a personal appearance, telling the audience he’d love to show one of the animated entries featuring characters from “The Avengers” to director duo Anthony and Joseph Russo.
“The workmanship that we have seen here today has been outstanding, and it just makes me so excited for the future of film,” he told the…