The lights of the IMAX Theatre in Davenport dimmed Thursday as about 150 viewers watched the premiere of film magic created by area teenagers for the 2nd annual Teen Film Festival & Red Carpet Screening.
Pac-Man chases investigators and a teenager shares a creepy version of the gentle children’s tale “Goodnight Moon.”
A tiny Thumbelina perches on a giant flower and a youthful version of James Bond dumps a body in a hot tub.
Making movies is “basically our lives,” filmmaker James McNeil, 14, of Moline said. “I take my camera everywhere because we like to shoot (scenes) as much as we can.”
James doesn’t always get along with his brother and filmmaking partner, Jack, 11, but when it comes to their art the two share a common vision. They began making movies several years ago and the efforts just keep getting more sophisticated.
James occupies the director’s chair and he’s working on page 26 of the script for their next film. Jack contributes ideas and tackles acting roles. The brothers are saving up money to purchase a high definition camera.
Twenty-two teenagers from around the Quad-Cities created 12 works for the film festival. The event kicked off with a call for entries in February and the themes were: outtakes, book trailer, or missing unwritten scene from a fave read.
Twins Jocelyn and Jade Jackson, 13, found themselves in a dilemma when they discovered someone had deleted their first version of “What Happens At the Library.” Time was trickling away with only two days before the end of the contest.
“I decided to quit,” Jocelyn said. “Jade told me she didn’t want to quit so we stuck with it.”
The first-time movie makers scrambled to come up with a workable replacement, film it and learn how to edit the video. Arika Allen, 12, of Davenport helped with the editing process.
“We worked really good together,” Jocelyn said.
The contest was sponsored by public libraries in the Quad-Cities and participants attended workshops and training sessions to learn about filmmaking.
“It’s amazing to see so many teens get excited with libraries, get excited with technology,” Angela Campbell of the Davenport Public Library said. “I think the major point of this is it’s a Quad-City wide event. It’s not just Davenport. A lot of friendships were made in the process as well.”
The winner of the Librarian’s Choice award was “Lots of Character” by Shelby Bargren. “What’s Up Holmes” by Gavin Wright and Austin Bundy won the Viewer’s Choice award.
Each award came with a $100 cash prize.