Aug. 7, 2005- Stylishly dressed and expertly coiffed, the 13 young stars from the Reichhold Center for the Art's Youth Moviemaking Workshop strolled with family and friends down a red carpet on Saturday to see the big premiere of their film "Dear Diary."
"This is so exciting for all of us," Ashley Wilkinson, one of the new starlets said. "It was a really great experience, and I hope to continue with it in the future."
Landing the lead in the film, Wilkinson played Natalee, a stateside teen turned camp counselor for four socially disturbed V.I. kids. "Natalee has to gain respect from these kids in order for them to work together as a team to win a competition. But anarchy hits when the kids sneak a peak at Natalee's diary and finds out what she really thinks of them," Denise Humphrey, YMW Program Coordinator, said to audience members.
"I think it's a great project," Humphrey added. "This movie was a culmination of everyone's ideas within the workshop. The kids all came up with what they wanted to see in the film, and then we voted on their suggestions and narrowed it down. When we finally came up with one main idea, we assigned who would be the writers, the directors, and the actors."
Held at the Center on St. Thomas, the premiere began with a showcase of personal projects the stars also completed and produced, including music videos, public service announcements, and short stories. "I think my music video is definitely one of the best," Tremin Dyer, up and coming actor, said. "It really shows what I can do."
For this project, members of the group each selected a song and creatively constructed a music video for it using cutouts from magazines and newspapers. Dyer's video, set to a smooth tune by the band Coldplay, was a montage of comic book and cartoon characters. In order to keep the images moving fluidly with the beat of the song, Dyer instituted a series of quick camera cuts. "This was really fun to do," the thirteen year-old said.
Other projects included songs from Destiny's Child, Ciara, and the hip-hop duo Outkast.
However, as impressive as the music videos were, the stars really shined in the presentation of a series of short stories, where a little imagination and a bit of great acting combined to form some unique finished products.
Ranisha Mascole, for example, used the Reichhold Center as the setting for her short story "Haunted Center," in which three friends explore a building thought to be home to a very angry ghost. Keeping suspense high during her two minutes of film time, Mascole was actually able to scare the audience when the ghost appeared, eerily clad in all white against a pitch-black backdrop.
But the audience didn't stay frightened for long. Adding a bit of humor to the evening, a short film by Jasmine Lindquist had parents laughing in the isles. Called "Slumber Party Madness," this project told the story of a group of girls whose slumber party is crashed by three annoying young men hiding in the bathroom of Lindquist's house. Richard Vialet, YMW instructor, also had a role, playing an uncle who becomes angry when he sees the boys inside his niece's bedroom.
"This was not an easy project to filmthe girls were always screaming. Can you imagine having to deal with that every day for the last few weeks?"
To the chuckles emerging from the audience, Vialet added that the short film project was designed for the stars to incorporate all the skills learned during the workshopfrom editing, to producing, lighting, and camera skills.
The feature presentation itself continuously garnered laughs from the crowd, as Wilkinson's character Natalee battled through the childish antics of her campers.
"We're really glad you liked it," the group said in a question and answer session after the screening. "It was a lot of hard work, but it was also a lot of fun."
The Reichhold Center for the Arts' Youth Movie Making Workshop is a seven-week summer program where students are able to gain hands-on experience working with various aspects of movie production. Over the first four weeks, participants are involved in learning the technical side of production, and use that knowledge during the last three weeks to create and film their own short feature.
"This year we had a lot of young kids with a lot of big ideas I was actually very surprised with all the things that they could do," Humphrey said. "Most of them are between the ages of eleven and thirteen but they understood the software that we used, and they kept their energy up from the beginning to the end. They really exceeded my expectations."
Participants in the program this year are:
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.