On Saturday night I was delighted to once again attend the Kids in the Spotlight Film Festival and Jordan Awards at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.
This was the 5th year for the event and it was hosted by Ty Burrell, Emmy-winning star of “Modern Family”. Kids in the Spotlight (KITS) finds a way to touch my heart each and every year. KITS gives children that are in foster care or otherwise underprivileged the opportunity to write, cast, direct, and star in their very own short films. The goal is to give these kids the chance to express their creativity and develop an interest in the film industry while building up their confidence and sense of accomplishment. The program culminates in Saturday’s festival. Let me set the scene.
The “Kids” arrive in limousines and step onto a stunning “blue carpet” complete with flash bulbs, interviews, waves, and cheers. Their movie posters dot the theatre lobby, which is filled with dignitaries, celebrities, and invited guests. The room buzzes as proud parents, siblings, and friends anticipate the big premiere of the films created by their loved ones. The kids are the stars of the night, having the time of their lives evidenced by the big smile across each of their faces. KITS Director Tige Charity floats around the room, making sure everything runs smoothly and that everyone is having a good time. Other KITS board members support Tige’s efforts, keeping things flowing and greeting and acknowledging every attendee.
The biggest KITS audience yet packed into the theatre with many forced to stand in the back. The lights dimmed, the screen came to life, and we were treated to the results of weeks of training, collaboration, and imagination.
The product of everyone’s efforts is a truly amazing experience for all in attendance. The KITS staff and volunteers become mentors for the kids and top industry professionals including producers, writers, makeup artists, and more are assembled to help with the films and give them advice. Perhaps the best part about KITS is that it’s a 100% free program for the participants. The team is dedicated to giving back to the community and providing something special for kids that truly deserve it. Witnessing this kind of selfless outreach always leaves me feeling proud and inspired.
After the films were screened, a number of awards were given out. The smiles on the faces of these kids when they step on the stage to accept awards for their hard work always brings tears to my eyes. At that moment, it’s all worth it. To be a part of the love and joy that fills the theatre is so very satisfying. It becomes clear how important KITS is for everyone involved. This is an event that I will attend for many years to come and I’m excited to see it grow and evolve.
Check out kidsinthespotlight.org and support this great organization. They are truly making dreams come true.
Writer, producer, comedienne, and author T Faye Griffin is a member of the KITS team and spoke about her rewarding experience with the event. Watch below.
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