Lights, Camera, Lakewood! Local Kids' Movie Gets Red Carpet Treatment

Writer/actor Gus Priemer poses at the red carpet premiere of "Dear Diary" at the Capitol Theatre.

It’s not everyday that a movie completely written, directed, edited and starring kids gets played in front of a packed crowd out movie theater, but that’s exactly what happened on July 6 at The Capitol Theatre on Cleveland’s west side.

“Dear Diary,” the first film produced by the Lakewood Young Filmmakers Academy Summer Camp is the product of a two week long summer camp that was held June 19-30 at The University of Akron-Lakewood and LYFA’s Madison Avenue studio.

Students, ages 7-17, spent a week in filmmaking boot camp learning from award winning industry professionals including founder Eric Swinderman. Hollie Brubaker, Patrick Antone, Jeffrey Lange, Jeff Wexler and Jacob Black. Subjects included film history, screenwriting, cinematography, lighting, sound and editing.

The students then spent two days writing the screenplay and another week shooting and editing their film, an 11-minute short film whose red carpet premiere on July 6, included paparazzi and live coverage from Cleveland 19 News.

Eleven-year-old Sun-Hee Smith of Lakewood, one of the films writers and stars said making the film was a blast. “I never knew how much work went into making a movie,” said Smith. “It was definitely the highlight of my summer.”

Jane Foley, 14, from Rocky River, said she hopes to have a career in film when she grows up. “I loved learning about the cameras,” said Foley. “I also hope to be an actress one day.”

Co-Founder Hortencia Swinderman says that while the kids in the camp got a crash course in multiple areas of the cinematic arts, they can focus on specific areas of interest this fall at LYFA’s after school film program.  “If a kid decides they really liked one aspect of filmmaking more than another,” said Swinderman. They can enroll in one of our four week sessions specializing in one area of interest, like screenwriting or editing.”

To unleash your child’s inner Spielberg and enroll in one of LYFA’s four week sessions, visit Classes start at just $79

Eric Swinderman

Eric Swinderman is an Emmy nominated and award winning filmmaker and TV producer from Lakewood, Ohio. He is the producer of Made in Cleveland, an independent film shot in northeast Ohio starring Busy Philipps (Cougar Town, Freaks and Geeks) and Gillian Jacobs (Community, Love.) A graduate of Cleveland State University, he also worked at NewsChannel 5 as a commercial and promotions producer.  He is currently in pre-production on a new feature film starring former Saturday Night Live cast member Abby Elliott (Odd Mom Out, Inside Amy Schumer).

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Volume 13, Issue 15, Posted 5:08 PM, 08.01.2017