Teen Librarian Toolbox
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TPiB: Hosting a Teen Film Festival, inspired by Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker


Earlier today, we reviewed (and recommended) Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young FilmmakerOf course, there are all kinds of programming potential tie-ins for the book.  You can go little, hosting a movie viewing party, or go big, inviting teens to create their own short films and hosting a local teen film festival.  So many people are doing amazing things these days with smartphones and computers, it is a great way to tap into that creativity with your local teens.

Hosting a Teen Film Festival
Today is a time of great creative renaissance for teens.  Now, more than ever, they have the tools at their disposal to make their own movies.  You can see amazing examples on YouTube and hitRECORD.org.  For a great look at young people dabbling in the word of film, watch the movie Super 8.  Tap into this zeitgeist moment and ask your teens to participate in a local teen film festival put on by you, their favorite librarian.

Hot Tips
Put together an awesome prize package.  It could include things like gift cards, local movie theater passes, or even something like a digital camera, iPod touch, etc.  You can ask local stores to donate and give them sponsorship credit.

Network with your local schools to get submissions, especially the art departments.  Sometimes they will even offer extra credit if you prompt them.

Getting Your Promotional Materials Organized

1.  Decide how you want to organize your teen film festival.  Will it be an open theme or will you ask teens to shoot on a specific theme?  If you want to do book related, you could ask teens to create their own booktrailers (see this post for more info).  Or, you could ask teens to make creative videos promoting the library.  But to spark true creativity, just leave it open.

2.  You’ll want to set some specific guidelines.  You’ll definitely want to address in your submission guidelines any rules you might have about language and content.  I’ve heard libraries say it had to be something you could sit and watch with the adults in your life, including teachers and parents.  That seems like a good guidelines.  You’ll always want to address length, etc.

3.  Create a way for teens to submit their videos.  You can set up a dummy email account using a free service such as gmail and asked teens to submit them via e-mail.  By using a dedicated account, you can make the e-mail address film festival related and easy to remember for teens and have an easy way to access all the submitted videos with your inbox being flooded with other correspondence.

5.  You’ll want to set up a YouTube channel to upload the videos to and have an online gallery.  You can upload the videos all at once or do several a day for a week.

6.  Create a voting mechanism to allow teens to vote on a winner.  If your library has a teen website, you can easily insert a poll feature to allow for voting.  FB also has an easy to use poll feature.

Showing The Work
If you have a way in-house, stream the videos in your teen area or at your check out desk.  You can use laptops or digital photo frames to do this.  I have also visited some libraries recently that had iPads attached to end caps, which would be ideal for this as well.

Have a film festival event where you actually show the videos in-house.  You can use a laptop and projector to do this.  Be sure and have refreshments. You might also want to consider contacting your local TV station personalities to come and host the event.

Depending on the number of submissions you receive, you may want to ask the top vote getting teens to talk a little bit about their piece as an introduction to showing them.

Award prizes and voila – you have hosted your own mini, local teen film festival.

Other Film Related Programs

We recently outlined a variety of movie related programming ideas based on the book Reel Culture by Zest Books, so you may want to check it out for some additional ideas.

Want to make a movie? There’s an app for that of course.  Here’s more on iMovie. 
Here’s some information on making book trailers. 
Here’s a YouTube clip on making a Short Film
Clipcanvas on How to Make a Short Movie
Top 5 Online Tools to Make a Online for Free
How to Use Windwos Movie Maker 
Don’t forget about Vine and Snapchat

See Also:
See also: Lights, Camera, Action: 5 YA Titles about teen filmmakers

Book Review: Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker

“I want to tell the stories of my generation. I want to be a filmmaker that is able to capture what my generation thinks, how they act, and they ultimately stand for.” – Andrew Jenks

“Everyone has a story and telling those stories is what I do.” – Jenks, page 169

At 16, Andrew Jenks started the Hendrick Hudson Film Festival
At 19, he made his first film
At 21, he created the ESPN documentary “The Zen of Bobby V.”
At 24, he had his own show on MTV
At 26, he is sharing his life in a book (feeling like a slacker yet?)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9IncBUEiIM]

Andrew Jenks is a young, aspiring filmmaker who began his journey with the movie Andrew Jenks, Room 335.  In this first documentary, Jenks checked himself in to a retirement home to see what it would be like for a young person to live amongst his elders.  The film was purchased by HBO and received some good critical reviews: “It’s almost impossible to believe that a kid could produce a documentary like this . . . Bravo Andrew Jenks. Brilliant.” – New York Daily News.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z68QRzBRqH0]

“Witnessing the daily actions of Bill, Tammy and the rest gave me confidence in being alive that I definitely didn’t have before.” – Jenks, page 76

Jenks then shot a documentary starring Bobby Valentine highlighting his success in Japan.  The Zen of Bobby V was financed by ESPN films.

“I’m glad I didn’t listen to that guy and burn all my copies of the movie . . .” – Jenks, page 88

You are, however, most likely to recognize the name Andrew Jenks from his MTV show World of Jenks.  On each episode of the show Jenks moved in with a different stranger and learned a little bit about what their life was like.  It is the ultimate experiment in walking in another person’s shoes.

“I wasn’t sure exactly where I would fit in among programs like Jersey Shores and 16 and Pregnant.  I’m not really that proud of my abs and don’t punch people all that often.  I certainly wasn’t pregnant.” – Jenks, page 169

Andrew Jenks has put together an artistic look at his journey as a young filmmaker in the biography Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker, set to be released March 1 from Scholastic.  The Jenks biography is a visually appealing book that will be a great draw for readers of all types, bursting with full-color pictures, varying sizes and colors of fonts, and an engaging voice that inspires.  Jenks is a reminder to teens that they can pursue a passion and turn it into something positive. 

Andrew Jenks does not sugarcoat the process, however.  Readers see quite clearly the lengths that Jenks had to go through to make some deals, the time he showed his film at Cannes and realized that it wasn’t properly synced, and the times he was relying on a wing and a prayer to get to the next step.  There are moments of abject rejection, including one festival calling and telling Jenks to stop submitting his film because he was wasting everyone’s time.  It is important for teen readers to see the hard work and dedication that Andrew Jenks had to put in to get to the point that he did.  This is not a Cinderella story, but a motivational look that reminds us all that a little elbow grease and perseverance can lead us on fantastic journeys.  Highly recommended for all library collections.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl6tF4Z5Hts]
Check out Scholastic’s This is Teen Youtube channel for lots of great promo videos

This review refers to an advanced reader’s copy and some of the quotes may change.  There were also several pages that didn’t have pictures on them yet.  Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker.  March 2013 from Scholastic Books.  ISBN: 978-0-545-417273.

See also: Lights, Camera, Action: 5 YA Titles about teen filmmakers
              TPiB: Reel Teens, hosting a teen film festival