Lyric Cinema Cafe provides exposure for high school filmmakers

Rachel Musselmann

At the Lyric Cinema Cafe, local amateur filmmakers, some as young as 14, were given a chance to see their work on the big screen.

Crowds of family, friends and strangers gathered Wednesday and Thursday at the Fort Collins movie theater for “#filmfest,” the first high school-only film festival in Fort Collins history.

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“This (event) is special,” said Herb Saperstone, Poudre School District television manager. “It’s providing young filmmakers exposure in a real social environment, outside the classroom.”

Saperstone said five local high schools submitted short films, in genres ranging from horror to documentary, and all were accepted into the festival.

“There is an unbelievable amount of sophistication that went into planning and directing some of these films,” Saperstone said. “Some are just classic high school humor, but others are really impressive.”

Megan Rice, Lyric event coordinator and Colorado State University alumna, said she reached out to Poudre School District to create the event.

“As someone who makes art, I understand how cool it is to have somewhere public to display it,” Rice said. “In high school, you have soccer games and choir concerts people can attend, but there’s nothing like that for film. These kids do a lot of cool stuff that goes under the radar.”

Also featured at the event was a booth for the Choice City Film Festival, an annual short film festival originating at the Lyric which will take place Sept. 12.  Young filmmakers were handed business cards and encouraged to submit their work as they entered the theater.

Fossil Ridge Senior and documentarian Noah Clark
Fossil Ridge senior Noah Clark discusses his documentary, Legacy of Love outside the Lyric Cinema Cafe Wednesday. (Photo credit: Rachel Musselmann)

Noah Clark, a senior at Fossil Ridge High School and director of the documentary “Legacy of Love,” said he was excited by the opportunity provided by the Lyric, and plans to submit his film to other festivals in the future.

“It’s interesting to get feedback from the community,” Clark said. “Normally we don’t get the opportunity in high school.”

Clark said the event helped to create much-needed bonding among amateur filmmakers.

“This is really bringing people together over shared hard work,” Clark said. “I don’t really know any filmmakers outside my school, and I think by talking to others, I can improve myself.”

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Saperstone said for the school district,  the event’s importance went far beyond meeting peers and receiving feedback.

“Some of (the filmmakers’) stuff is good enough to get them jobs, which ultimately is the goal of education,” Saperstone said.

Collegian Senior Reporter Rachel Musselmann can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rmusselmann.