Seasoned Pros Turn Youths’ Screenplays Into Festival-Ready Films

Director Makti Dapp instructs extras as they prepare to shoot a scene for Jaida Utley's film. Image via ICiT

Director Makti Dapp instructs extras as they prepare to shoot a scene for Jaida Utley’s film. Image via ICiT

The Nashville Film Festival opens tonight with one of its biggest schedules in the event’s history, but the festival still has room for a pair of short films from scripts written by Nashville school kids.

For a month in the summer, the ICIT program takes middle and high school kids through the paces of writing a screenplay. At the end, two are chosen for production with a fully professional crew.

Jaida Utely has been through the camp twice. When she was eleven she wrote about a group of girls that got famous and went to Hollywood. It wasn’t picked for production, but she came back the next year and tried again.

I think I matured because I was smaller and my brain wasn’t all the way ready for this.

For her second attempt, Utely wrote about a troubled girl who finds help from an art teacher.

Earlier this year, industry professionals donated their time to shoot Jaida’s story and one by fellow teenager Jessica Polk.

ICiT founder David Perry says he hopes that sends a message to the kids.

 It’s not just saying oh look at this nice thing that you did but it’s literally saying this is good enough to put my name behind it.

The films “The Upside of Down” and “Love Is Alive” will be on the big screen Saturday morning at the Nashville Film Festival.

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