OSSINING, N.Y. When seventh grader Javier Pomales first started making an animated film, he didn't think it would be that fun, but things got more interesting as he started to cut characters out of construction paper and make them move.
"The hands-on thing made it more exciting for me and I got more interested," he said.
Pomales was part of a group of 21 kids at the Ossining Children's Center who participated in a six-week film making program run by the Jacob Burns Film Center called "Minds in Motion." The students, led by Jacob Burns' Joe Summerhays, ranged from fourth to seventh grade.
Pomales' seven-person team put together a one-minute film entitled "Every Squid Has Its Day" that features a half-man, half-squid character that is looking for a date for the prom.
"The hardest part was cutting out the tentacles," said Pomales' teammate, Sara Smalls. "You have to have patience because if you cut the tentacle, you have to start all over again... But it was really worth it because in the end it just came out all nice."
Other films that were put together by Ossining Children's Center kids were "Aye Carumba," which features a hamburger bun that travels from New Jersey to Mexico, and "The Lonely Dolphin," a film about a lonely dolphin who decides to throw a party.
Minds in Motion participants attended a red carpet premiere at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville last week. Their one-minute films were shown on the theater screen, and the young filmmakers had a reception afterwards during which they could answer questions from audience members.
"It's really promotes literacy development because it involves reading, writing, speaking and listening, and also art, math and music," said Katrina Rocco, a school-age program director at the Ossining Children's Center. "And the kids have to work together as a team, so it promotes team collaborative skills."
Shawn Cribari, the Director of Development at the Ossining Children's Center. noted that children who were identified as having learning difficulties with math were able to do math for their films when they were told that they needed 15 frames per second.
For Smalls, all the compliments she got after her showing of "Every Squid Has Its Day" made the work she had put into animating worth it.
"If you want to get the 'hoorays' and 'good jobs,' you have to put the work into it," she said.
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