Filmmakers get taste of Hollywood fame

29 August 2011

Picture this.

Dozens of fans line up along the red carpet to see the premiere of a movie you’ve just filmed, produced and starred in. You roll up to the theater in a limousine and, as you get out, people cheer while taking an endless amount of pictures.

That was the scene at the Rave Motion Pictures theater at the Mall of Louisiana on Sunday, when kids as young as 5 and as old as 24 gathered for a special premiere of the two movies they made at the Academy of Motion Picture Development’s Summer Film Camp.

“We wanted to give the kids the full Hollywood treatment,” said Aaron Williams, the academy’s founder and director.

The Academy of Motion Picture Development is a Baton Rouge film academy that offers instruction in writing, directing, cinematography, acting, and editing movies.

The two films the kids made were named “Little Town” and “Town of the Living Dead.”

In “Little Town,” a sheriff and his officers must defend their town against Sweet Tooth, who continually robs the local bank of its candies.

In “Town of the Living Dead,” a group of teenagers are stranded in an abandoned town that is haunted by a zombie apocalypse.

The kids wrote, filmed, acted and edited the two movies themselves with little adult supervision.

The film camp lasted for four weeks in June. Celtic Media Centre, near Bluebonnet Boulevard and Airline Highway, hosted the camp.

Williams, a 1998 graduate of Woodlawn High, said he founded the academy and summer camp so children in Louisiana could learn about the movie industry in their home state.

“I had to go off and get my training,” Williams said.

The aspiring actors and filmmakers rode in limousines to the theater. Awaiting them was a red carpet, complete with security detail and fake TV reporters ready to interview them.

Parents waited for their children’s arrival while carrying paper fans with pictures of their sons and daughters.

Carl Wells kept one of those fans attached to his belt. His daughter Carol, 11, played Sweet Tooth in “Little Town.”

Wells said his daughter enjoyed learning all aspects of moviemaking.

“It looks like it’s going to be a pretty cool experience,” Wells said before the film debuted.

The kids dressed to the nines for the premieres, donning suits and dresses as if it were a genuine Hollywood affair.

Brock Kaufman, 11, portrayed Sheriff William Pride in “Little Town.” He wore a dark gray suit with a light green tie and vest for the ceremony.

Kaufman said he enjoyed learning more about making movies, such as how to work a camera and edit sound.

“It was an awesome experience,” Kaufman said.

Elle Pickrell, 14, played a zombie in “Town of the Living Dead.” She said she began acting last year.

“It was a lot of fun,” Pickrell said of the camp.

Pickrell attended the showings with her mother, Carolyn Summers.

Summers said she also enjoyed her daughter’s experience.

“The only real work for me was to get the costumes,” she said.

Pam Brown, whose daughter Katie, 11, portrayed a townsperson in “Little Town,” said she and her daughter saw an advertisement for the film camp on TV.

She said she enjoyed seeing her daughter learn so much about movies — even if it meant driving her to camp at 8 a.m. every day.

“It was a lot of fun and a lot of work,” she said.

SOURCE: Robert Stewart, The Advocate