A still from the Ballston Spa Film Festival 2013 selection “Chee-Wi Learns to Growl,” which is directed by 10-year-old Emma Penaz Eisner.
The event also focuses on featuring younger filmmakers and eight films featured at it were made by a total of 16 students from Niskayuna High School. Emma Penaz Eisner, a 10-year-old from California, will be attending for the screening of her short film “Chee-Wi Learns to Growl. Elizabeth Herrick, an 11-year-old from Florida, is also returning this year with her film “Killer App.”
“We really like the student aspect of it and being able to support the students and give them a local venue to begin screening their films,” Grandin said. “For me, it is important anytime we give youngsters support and ways to be able to share what their interest might be, whether it is local, across the country or around the world.”
There will be three screenings of films by fourth-grade students Malta Avenue Elementary School.
Mike Feurstein taught the elementary students about media, movie sets, writing, producing, directing, filming and acting. The students then made Public Service Announcements based on their bullying experiences to help stop such behavior. These shorts have been shared within school and online, but it will be the first time on the big screen.
Grandin said even if the students don’t continue filmmaking it is important to “give them what they need when they need it” to showcase their talents.
“It is such a confidence booster for anybody, but especially for kids to have an opportunity at that age,” she said.
When the inaugural festival was held, Grandin said she was just an attendee with her husband and four children. Her involvement in the festival grew from how much she enjoyed it.
“My favorite thing about the festival is being able to offer the community something that is different,” she said, “but also being able to connect with people from around in the world in a matter of minutes and seconds.”