That´s right, I have a Spanish/Dutch nephew who has just won an award for “Best Director” at the CINEDFEST 2016 Canary Islands (Educational Cinema Festival)! Thumbs up for him and his fellow classmates who did a great job in putting this great Short film together. It´s an honor for me to be part of this production and see how kids from 4 to 8 years old with no acting experience whatsoever trying to make it all fit together.
My role was rather easy, as it was clear to me that this film had to be entirely made by the kids (except for the camerawork and editing) so I didn´t want to have a big role in telling them what to do nor trying to make this a fancy special FX film. I just told them whenever I started filming and when I stopped and the rest was done by them. Working with children is both difficult and lots of fun. Difficult in a way, that children get distracted very easily and since filming a video takes a lot of time after a couple of hours I had to deal with kids running around like crazy. I sometimes had to remind them that they were making a movie as they didn´t quite get the fact that if you make a mistake, you have to film the entire scene all over again.
“En busca del Arcoiris” (Finding the Rainbow) is the title of this film and it was written by the kids themselves. The story is about a group of kids that get lost in the woods and work together to get back to their parents, by working together as a team. The message of the film is that kids of different age should team up and support each other no matter what. The school that they´re going to in real life is a very small school with only 14 students, from 5 to 8 years old. What they are taught every day is that kids can learn from each other no matter the age. The all have to help each other and be nice to each other, sort of creating a family within a school. The script they wrote for this film was based entirely on that principle. “Arcoiris/Rainbow” is the name of the school and as the story tells us, the school is closing because all the kids go to bigger schools. While being on a camping trip with there families, one of the kids sees a rainbow and decides to get closer in order to see its beautiful colors. As we all know kids are very curious and so they all go after there friend to see the colors of the rainbow from upclose. The message behind this film is that nature is helping them to get back to the small school so that they can continue to learn together.
Kids jumping in front of the school.
During the production I had such a great time with these kids as they were all so sweet and really tried there best to make a good film. They all understood very well what this film was about, even the younger kids could tell you exactly what they were trying to tell us with this story. I think in some way that we are all kids even as grown ups and we´re all trying to connect with other people even if they´re of different age and different interests. Sometimes when I talk to kids and really listen to what they are saying, I find out that us grown ups are wrong most of the time. We´re so busy with things that really don´t matter while there are so many important things in life that we just seem to forget. It´s so easy to make kids laugh or get them to be positive. I think it´s up to us to help out this new generation because they are the future and eventually have to make this a better world for all of us to live in, as our generation messed up pretty bad in almost every possible way.
Don´t look into the camera, kids!
I think the hardest part of this project was telling them not to look into the camera, as it was the first time for them to make a film, they really had a hard time not to look into the camera. Especially for the younger ones it was almost impossible not to look into the lens, so in the end while editing I would try and cut just a few frames before they would look into the lens. But even doing so, I think there are still a few moments in the film where someone looks into the camera, as it was impossible to cut in the middle of a dialogue. Sometimes after repeating the take for over 20 times, one of the kids would actually tell me that they wanted out of the film as it became so boring repeating over and over. We had to explain to them why we can´t have any mistakes in the final result and after a few tears here and there we finally got them to continue to act (actors can get pretty demanding sometimes). But after seeing the result and winning the award I think all of them learned that sometimes you have to be patient in order to get a good result. After the final day of shooting they were so happy that they wanted to see the result right away, so I went home and started editing the video as fast as I could so that they wouldn´t get dissapointed with me.
My nephew Josue after 44 takes including a few tears
I think CINEDFEST is doing a great job by organizing this festival in Spain and in South America. Kids really learn to work together and have so much fun filming. It´s a great process for them to start thinking about a story that they want to tell, then write it down on paper and finally filming it. I´m really impressed with some of the short films that participated in the festival and hope that there are many more editions to come. In the end I learned that kids have a very creative mind and that they are capable of creating amazing things with so little. We really should pay more attention to the little ones and try to learn something from them as well. For me this was an amazing experience and I´m very glad that they´ve won an award, so that they realize that all the hard work can lead up to something great;)