Check out this recent production by Shattered Glass Studios for the Pens to Lens Film project.
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I’m a filmmaker here in Chicago. I’ve been working in the film scene for about three years. I got involved with Pens to Lens when I met Brett Hayes. He’s involved with the Champagne Film Society. And last year, they started this program where they take scripts written by kindergarten through high school students, and then have a professional film crew produce them. Part of the beauty of the program is that everyone involved donates their time, so the people that come out aren’t coming here for the paycheck or just because it’s another job. Everyone involved is really passionate about the program and passionate about the kids.
I got interested in filmmaking in college. After I graduated, started a production company called Shattered Glass Studios. There were 150 scripts written this year by kids K-12 for Pens to Lens. Last year, we had 120, and of those, 9 were made into short films.
I found out about Pens to Lens through Brett. Brett produced a film that I did last September, and has been kind of keeping me in the loop with how they’ve been doing this program, and kind of childhood and, like, younger people’s creativity. The naiveness of it is inspiring, and something that you kind of try to keep within you, and not get too bogged down with what you can’t do and just…do what you want, and see what happens.
At that age, you don’t think about budgets or any sort of restrictions, so it’s sort of a free imagination. And I think, for these kids to see what they thought up be brought to life, is really sort of a life-changing thing.
You get kindergarteners and you get second graders and you get fifth graders, and you shoot that script. And so, we want to harness and lift up the creativity of these kids, to say, “What you wrote is good, and we want to make that.” And so, to be able to not edit it and not censor it, and do what the kids—and get into their mind—you see some really interesting things that, as adults, we would never write about.
The only thing that you’ve got that’s truly unique is yourself. And, you know, we all have our own experiences and things that make us special. And I think the way to really separate yourself is to figure out how to put that into the work that you do.
Having the RED DRAGON to be able to shoot those really, you know, slow-motion shots was kind of a dream.
All different frame rates, all different shot sizes, we can crop in…so it’s really given us the flexibility to create the visual style that we needed. I remember last year, a couple of people who saw their films premiere suddenly knew they had to go into movies, and, for them, it just became something that was real, and not just a general idea.
We hear back from the kids after it’s done, and the parents, and they say, “You validated my kid as a writer. You validated them as a creative person, and inspired them to do this in the future.”