success stories!

CHASE BENNETT 2008-2011 Kiwanis Teen Film Festival Participant

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The Kiwanis Teen Film Festival was the first film festival that I ever entered a film in. I’d like to think that my first year at Kiwanis was what jump started me to become serious about filmmaking. It meant a lot to me because it was the first time I realized that I could do more than make silly online videos. I remember sitting in the theater looking at the screen and thinking, “Wow, I made that.” It was an inspiring and rewarding experience. Not only did I get to see my films on the big screen, but there was an entire auditorium filled with people watching. I loved hearing the audience’s reaction, which was something I’d never experienced before.

After my first year at Kiwanis, I decided to get serious about the craft. I spent a lot of time self-learning, I got better equipment, and I kept on creating. By my senior year of high school, I went on to get accepted into The National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), the largest youth film festival in the world and brought back an audience choice award. I also got accepted into my dream school, New York University for a major in film production. (One of the best and most selective film schools in the world.) I am currently in my junior year, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

Living in Manhattan, opportunities are endless, and the quality of education is outstanding. Every year, I find that filmmaking continues to be a rewarding experience. Kiwanis provided an outlet for me that most young filmmakers don’t get. Especially living in Idaho, it was a thrill to find that I wasn’t the only one who had an interest in making films in the state. Kiwanis gave me a venue to display my work, a reason to keep on creating, and something to look forward to every year. I truly believe that without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

RUSTY EARL: Kiwanis Film Festival Volunteer 2008-2011

Teacher turns Documentary Filmmaker

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Back in 2007 I first became involved with the Kiwanis film festival. Not as a student but as a teacher/ film club advisor. During the early winter months I had seen a flyer for the festival and talked a handful of my junior high film club students into making a short video for it. We drove out into the middle of the desert looking for a cave for them to film a no-plot story in frigid temperatures. Long story short, we never found the cave, but we did have a lot of fun pulling together a story. I have been involved with the festival ever since then.

After teaching Theatre, Public speaking, and Video production for a little over 7 years I decided to take the plunge and get into video/ film a little more seriously. In 2010 with the help of former students and friends we filmed out first feature narrative in Mountain Home, ID “Sage Riders”.  It was one of the most exhausting projects I had ever worked on, but it was so worth it. The mistakes made and the planning involved helped me to really focus on what we were trying to do in telling the story. It didn’t win any national awards, but it gave me the confidence that I could get better and go some where in the industry.

Within a year I quit my teaching job and moved to Kansas to become a video producer for Kansas State University. It has been an incredible ride with one tremendous opportunity after another. In the last year and half I worked on two documentaries in two very different parts of the world. This summer we are scheduled to shoot three more documentary programs. My first broadcast documentary “Humanity looks good on Everyone” started airing last month on PBS across Kansas and will soon be airing on BYUtv across the country.

What started as something fun to engage my students with, has turned into a life changing experience for me. The Kiwanis film festival of course played a large role in gathering me and my students interests in film. For that I am most grateful!

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