New generation of Spielbergs, Coppolas |

New generation of Spielbergs, Coppolas

Autumn Phillips

At 14, Jennings Anderson already has found what he was meant to do in life; you can tell by the look on his face when he talks about it. Anderson is a filmmaker.

He picked up a camera for the first time at his sister’s graduation party.

“I was the youngest person there, and I was so bored,” Anderson said. The host of the party had a new video camera. Anderson turned it on and started filming.

“I had so much fun that I begged my parents for one,” he said. They answered his request that summer.

He and two friends at Lowell Whiteman Primary School, 11-year-old Wyatt Wilson and 12-year-old Christopher Finch, spent all day Sunday in Anderson’s TV room editing eight hours of film into a 1 minute, 30 second clay-animation feature.

They had to finish the film last weekend in time for its premiere tonight at the first Student Film Night.

Their film, “Fisherman,” is based on an Internet commercial for John West salmon that the boys saw two years ago. It was Wilson’s idea to make a clay animation remake of the film. Call him the writer. Finch designed all the action and camera angles. Call him the cinematographer. Anderson had the equipment and made the rest happen. Call him the producer/director.

In the original Internet commercial, a bear pulls a salmon out of the water, and a man suddenly appears to fight him for it.

In the student’s version, the man catches the fish first and then fights the bear — kung fu style — to a soundtrack of Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”

They pulled sounds from the Internet of a bear growling and the punching sounds for the fighting scene, all credited in a long list at the end of the movie.

This is Anderson’s second clay-animation film, he said. He made his first one, called “Surfrider,” in sixth grade as part of an independent project for his computer class.

Anderson made another film last summer to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Lowell Whiteman.

The three students hope to continue making films in high school. Anderson and Finch are most interested in the computer editing aspects of filmmaking.

“It’s a fun thing to do if you are willing to take the time to do it well,” Wilson said. “It’s good for you, even though it’s time consuming.”

Tonight’s event, a continuation of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council Free Friday Film Series, is a plan by Steamboat resident Bill Hamilton to showcase young filmmaking talent from schools.

“It’s important to me for people to realize what the kids can do,” Hamilton said. “I think that you empower young people when you show (their work) in public and they get a response to it.”

Hamilton’s ultimate goal is to put together a film festival of work by teenagers.

“I’m pro-young people,” Hamilton said. “They get such a negative rap sometimes. The positive things they are doing need to get seen.”

“We have so many kids who are interested in this,” said Steve Moos, video production instructor at Steamboat Springs High School, whose students Marty Ludwig and Travis Mouffe made a short film called “Quest for the Golden Monkey” for Film Night.

“I think this is really exciting for the students to have an audience,” Moos said. “You never know what might fuel their desire to keep going.”

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