Shouldn't there be a film festival for kids that's also by kids? That's the premise of the Kid Film Fest, a festival started by 9-year-old aspiring filmmaker Aven Woodard in 2014. The festival's first year was a success, with 40 entries and 150 attendees at its first annual event. Now in its second year, The Kid Film Fest has attracted more than 50 submissions. On Sunday, May 3, local families can see the results, with an evening festival of kid film screenings, awards, snacks, truly special guests (see below) and more kid film fun.
Aven's dad, Dustin Woodard (also a filmmaker), answered some of our questions about this unique film event.
Why did Aven start the film fest?
Aven started it when he was 9 because he was frustrated with all the "kid film festivals" which were really adult or studio-made films targeting kids. He couldn't find a film festival that actually showed kid-made films. Being a filmmaker himself, he wanted to showcase films made by kids 16 and under. This will be the second year of the fest and we hope to keep it going annually.
Why is film-making important for kids?
Kids have great imaginations and filmmaking allows them to share their ideas with the world. It's also much more accessible then when I was a kid. Camera equipment and editing software is affordable and easy to use. One of the films at Sundance this year was shot entirely on an iPhone. It is also a potential career path for kids. An 8-year old kid named Evan earns over $1.3 million a year on YouTube reviewing toys.
How many submissions has the fest gotten this year? Can you give us a couple of examples of the range of films festival-goers might see on Sunday?
We received over 50 submissions this year. We've got a great spy film, a magic remote-control film, some LEGO stop-motion videos and even an animated film with a green message. We also have a section where we honor amazingly talented kids from around the world.
What’s the youngest entrant you’ve had to date?
We've had three different 5-year olds submit films.
What else can people expect from the event on Sunday?
It is a really unique atmosphere catering to families with kids. First thing when you walk in is a red carpet where your kids or family can get their picture taken if they like. Then Aven will kick off 45 minutes of kid-made short films followed by a special video message from Chris Pratt, trophies for the filmmakers, a food break and then another 45 minutes of films. There's more laughter and positive energy then I've seen in any theater environment.
Wow, Chris Pratt!? How'd that happen?
Aven & I live in Lake Stevens and since Chris Pratt is from Lake Stevens, he was nice enough to record a video for from a hospitality trailer of a movie set. Other than Chris's video, the stars this year will be the dozens of kid filmmakers who make it out, but next year we hope to move it down to Seattle, which would open up many more possibilities for special guests.
Who are the kids that run the event?
Aven and his sister are hosting and 5-7 kids will be judging the films. We expect around 40 kids to be in attendance who were either filmmakers or actors in the movies we'll show Sunday night.
Will one of Aven's films be in the fest?
Yes. Aven will be debuting a Minecraft-inspired film where he switches places with Steve who ends up in the real world while Aven ends up in the game environment.
Attend the Kid Film Fest!
When: Sunday, May 3, 5:30–8 p.m.
What: The evening will be split into two segments, running about 45 minutes each, including screenings of films, honoring local filmmaker kids, snacks and custom video clips from famous characters.
Where: Snohomish County PUD Auditorium 2320 California St., Everett, WA 98201
More info: kidfilmfest.com