Families can bypass splash pads Friday to get out of the 90-degree heat in Provo.
“They can just come right to the nice, air-conditioned Covey Center and just sit down for an hour or two, or more if they’d like, and watch some really nice cinema,” said Warren Workman, organizer of the Family Film Festival.
The second Family Film Festival will take place this weekend at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo.
Admission to the event is free, and kids won’t be embarrassed to bring their grandparents to any of the movies screening at the festival, according to Workman.
“It’s all very family friendly,” Workman said. “The only one that I might say is a little jumpy is ‘The Wish and the Wisp,’ but there’s nothing objectionable in it. It’ll just make you jump at the very end.”
The Family Film Festival aims to highlight the Covey Center for the Arts, the event’s sponsor, during its quiet summer season and “inspire a love of filmmaking for younger audiences,” according to Workman.
“When we can show how you can make a short movie and tell the full story really quickly, but very professionally, it inspires people to give it a try, especially young people,” Workman said.
The event will start Friday at 2 p.m. and include three blocks of films, each lasting one and half hours, with a short awards ceremony at the end.
“A lot of these films really do have a lot of life lessons in them, and it gives a great opportunity for families to come together and discuss those life lessons,” Workman said. “That’s why a film festival like this is just so wonderful for the Provo area is it really fits with our core values in the community while making a fun, free activity for everyone to come and enjoy.”
This year’s Family Film Festival will feature more local films, highlighting Utah’s “thriving local filmmaking community,” according to Workman.
“The neat thing is when they come and they are able to exhibit their films to a large audience, or even to just any audience on a big screen, it not only bolsters their self-esteem, but it also gives them that feedback from their audience,” Workman said. “Having this forum where the filmmakers can actually see how the audience reacts to their film is an incredible opportunity for them to be able to hone the craft even more.”
One of the festival’s feature films this year is “Resilience and the Lost Gems,” which takes place in Utah when the Golden Spike was driven in 150 years ago and is based on a legend that the Chinese workers who helped build the railroad found red beryl gems while they were digging.
The movie then cuts to modern day and follows a 12-year-old girl named Resilience, aka Rizzy, O’Neil, who is drawn to the legend, which her uncle was part of, and travels with her family to the desert hunting for treasure when they are caught in a flash flood.
“She’s alone 57 miles from nowhere, and she believes they’re still alive, and she’s got to go for help,” said Brian Finn, who made the film. “She was looking for a legend, and somehow, suddenly, that legend becomes basically her desire to save her family.”
Finn, a stunt coordinator who wrote stories as a Dungeons and Dragons player growing up, wrote the film for his daughter, Kiara Finn, to play the lead role after their jobs directing and acting in another film fell through.
“The people that come to it, I hope they get a strong feeling of how important family and neighbor, and just a little bit of faith is to Resilience,” Finn said.
The movie includes music by local artist Shaun Barrowes of “American Idol” and is “a postcard for Utah,” according to Finn.
“We shot 45 days all over the state and 32 locations,” Finn said. “Every shot was in Utah. Every crew member was from Utah. I have a giant love for this state, and I have really a passion for family as well, and so I’m trying to combine those two in this film.”
Finn said he loves the fact that this film festival is focused on family.
“I think family is so important here in Utah that we can start making a movement,” Finn said. “Media and film, you can change the moral compass of our country just with really good-quality stuff and if you start really making a positive message, and it starts with family.”
Hundreds of people showed up last year for the first Family Film Festival, and Workman expects to see the same or a greater number this year.
“But we’re not going to run out of seats,” Workman said. “They have over 700 seats at the Covey Center, so there’s going to be plenty of seats. Bring the entire family.”
Workman hopes those who attend the event see the value of making independent cinema for the younger generation.
“This is a way for the younger generation to now express how they feel, how they see the world, how they view their circumstances, and it gives them another voice that they can express throughout their lives,” Workman said. “Art is a great medium to allow people to express how they feel, and I wish more people when they come to the film festival are able to take part in that activity.”