IOW: P2L kid films debut Aug. 15

Whomever believes the summer season to be devoid of activity in these college town environs has no concept of the sheer will exhibited by the movie-makers of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond! To celebrate the creativity of our upcoming generation, the Pens to Lens Awards Gala will take place at the Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, IL, this coming Saturday, August 15, showcasing 20 film shorts that culminated from the hard work put forth by local producers the past four months. At turns colorful, lively, heartwarming, and occasionally heart-rending, the screen stories were culled from more than 200 springtime submissions written by Champaign County students in kindergarten through grade 12, transformed into movie reality with an eye towards demonstrating to these children the powerful potential of their own ideas and words. The shorts will be split between two blocks at 2 and 6 p.m., with red carpet activities starting up at 1 and 5 p.m., the earlier set filled with all-ages films and later grouping packed with older-skewing cinema. In a twist, the bonus 21st short that will close the 2015 gala is not an official P2L effort but MARY, created independently by high school student Jessie Anne Denning, which will be dubbed “winner of the inaugural Pens to Lens High School Film Festival.” Photo opportunities, awards, guest emcees, and a custom movie poster gallery will fill out the third annual P2L Gala presented by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society, Champaign Movie Makers, Champaign Urbana Design Organization, and Champaign Park District; ticket cost will be $8 for each show and $12 for the duration, with those 18 years and under receiving free admission. Inspire the youth in your household!

Since we did not pull together a preview, flash back to one year ago when organizer Thomas Nicol talked with C-U Blogfidential about the Pens to Lens program or hop over to Melissa Merli’s interviews for the News-Gazette with filmmaker Anne Lukeman and Urbana High School freshman Lillian Hall about the 2015 entry ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. The full schedule, as well as formal details on both the P2L Gala and preceding P2L Screenplay Competition, can be found at the official Web site. Footage from several shorts is glimpsed in the teaser above while the t-shirt design by Matt Wiley Art appears below.

~ Jason Pankoke

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