Movies by Kids and for kids

Jake and Ryan Lebell butter up their popcorn at the first night movie screening at Bluffs Park on Friday. The next movie, "Two Brothers," will screen Saturday at 8 p.m., preceded by films made by Movies by Kids. Devon Meyers / TMT

Movies made by young filmmakers will be screened Saturday at Bluffs Park.

By Ryan O’Quinn/ Special to The Malibu Times

With CineMalibu’s first screening under its belt, plans are being made for more screenings at Bluffs Park, including movies made by young filmmakers in the Movies by Kids camp program to be screened Saturday evening, along with “Two Brothers,” a story about two young tiger siblings who are separated from their parents and each other.

Last weekend’s screening of “Shark Tale” proved popular with locals-nearly 300 people showed up for last Friday night’s event. The City of Malibu has partnered with many local businesses, including The Malibu Times, to create the outdoors summer movie series.

Since the April 17 fire at Malibu’s Cross Creek Shopping Plaza, which severely damaged the New Malibu Theater, Malibu residents have no local options for seeing a feature film until the projected completion date of the theater, which isn’t until the end of the year. The Malibu City Council approved the spending of $35,000 of the necessary $50,000 needed for sound and projection equipment to show the films on the big screen at Bluffs Park.

Volunteer coordinator David Lyons said with the city’s purchase of the equipment, the possibilities are endless. One of those possibilities has become reality, and one of the slated screenings will include “world premiere” screenings this weekend from young filmmakers in the Movies by Kids Summer Camp that is co-sponsored by the city.

The camp is a creative program designed to teach children the process of shooting a film. The filmmakers, most of them children ages 7-13, learn the techniques of writing, producing and directing their own projects. They also have the option of learning animation, claymation and music video production through the classes that are offered.

The organization’s founders say the program is designed to give children a hands-on opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the medium they are using and also to use the latest digital cameras, computers and editing hardware while working on their movies.

Movies by Kids partner Aaron Priceman said he met the company’s founders Greg and John Kindseth, when he was seven years old and had written his first movie by age 9. He said they realized if they had an opportunity to attend film school when they were younger, it would have helped tremendously as they learned more moviemaking skills later in life.

“We feel by starting kids out young not only are we teaching them camera angles and techniques, we are also teaching them skills in coping with one another,” Priceman said. “We want to believe we are changing Hollywood one little moviemaker at a time.”

City of Malibu Recreation Supervisor Amy Crittenden said she first heard about Movies by Kids when she received a press packet in the mail.

“They sent me a package with an outline of what they do and I thought it was a very interesting program,” Crittenden said. “We always try to make our programs that we offer to the community interesting and different each year and I thought this would fit well.”

Moviegoers this weekend will be treated to some stop motion animation films that are the final projects from camp attendees. Priceman added that it takes about 300 pictures to make a one-minute stop motion movie.

In addition to the short films by the Movies by Kids filmmakers there will also be the feature length family film, “Two Brothers,” to follow.

The summer screenings are free and open to the public on a first come-first serve basis with a maximum capacity of 750 people according to event planners. There is no seating provided and organizers suggest bringing blankets or chairs to the movies.

The local Kiwanis Club will sell refreshments for all screenings and proceeds will benefit the local American Youth Soccer Organization and the Malibu Parks and Recreation Department.

In addition to this Saturday’s screening at 8 p.m., there are also screenings planned at Bluffs Park on Aug. 13 and Aug. 20 at 8 p.m.

More information on the movies being screened can be obtained by checking The Malibu Times calendar section or by calling the city at 310.456.2489 ext. 225. More information on the Movies by Kids program can be obtained at the Web site,