by Lorraine Payette, written August 24, 2013
(DELTA, ONTARIO) The stars were out in the daytime as the 3rd Annual Delta Documentary and Film Festival took the stage at the Delta Fairgrounds on August 23.
“I think this is a good space for kids to actually feel comfortable with their peers and it’s a safe environment where they can feel free to express themselves,” said Vicki Stevenson. “It’s really important and so well done. I don’t know how they do it. There’s a lot kids can do in this community if they’re into sports, but if you aren’t inclined that way or even if you are, and you really enjoy theatre, this is a really good thing to do. It’s a great alternative.”
More than 80 people attended the festival, which consisted of a barbecued chicken dinner followed by a screening of the ten films the campers had made over the summer. The topic for the year was “Heroes: from the Everyday to the Super”, and they made films ranging from two to six minutes in length to prove that they knew exactly what they were talking about.
Films included “The Real Superheroes”, “Super Alexa”, “Award Down, Gun Down”, “Good Bad Penguin”, “Vampires Return”, “The Felines”, “The Pretenders”, “The Chase”, “The Good, the Bad, the Better” and “Dubstep Takes Delta”. Each film was entirely written, directed, acted, costumed, produced and filmed by the campers themselves, with help from their counsellors and a minimum of guidance from Marks.
“This year has been the best year yet,” said Rachel Marks, head of RILTS. “I had a dream team of camp counsellors – Sierra, Claire, Abby and Rebecca – and I’m so thrilled with the work they’ve done this year. They were also joined by twelve junior counsellors this year, all of whom donated a week of their time to come and help out.”
They were led by Sierra, who has been a counsellor with the programme for three years. Claire was also a counsellor the first year, and Abby and Rebecca were campers. Connor and Jaxon were two of the Junior Counsellors who were available to attend the festival that evening. So many started out as campers, now they all work together to help make the camp what it is – a great experience for all kids who want a chance to learn to do something different in theatre over the summer.
“Every year, we give everyone the same theme,” said Marks. “But that doesn’t mean they all made the same film. We had ten different movies, all completely original. They did a fantastic job.”
In the first year, students were getting the feel of what making a film is all about. By now, they have taken on a whole new level of quality, and are really hoping that next year they’ll see some international involvement.
“We run on a grant that we apply for every year,” said Marks. “We’re one of a great many groups who apply for a very little available funding, and it cannot cover it all. The rest of the money that we raise for art supplies, DVDs, cameras, all of that, comes from events like this festival. The silent auction helps, some of your kids volunteered for us during our car wash, we do a yard sale every year and a taco night. These four things really increase our cash because we really feel that this programme needs to stay as inexpensive as possible in order for all the different families from different walks of life can send their kids to camp. Best of all is the support we get from local businesses and community members. We don’t want to be expensive, we don’t want to be exclusive. That’s not what we’re about. We’re for the community and we want to be the best for everyone.
“We’ve opened the festival up to everyone worldwide, and are hoping other people in other communities will get involved. It’s a great chance to show off what you can do and to share it with places that may never have heard of you before.”
Supporters for the camp included Criminal Court Community Fund, Every Kid in Our Communities – Leeds & Grenville, DARS, Delta Agricultural Society, Delta Mill Society, Delta United Church, the Township of Rideau Lakes, Tackaberry & Sons Construction, Rideau Lakes Building Centre, The Cove, Delta Country Market, Earth’s Harvest Farm, Jake by the Lake (Life Is Good), Kandy, Kudrinko’s, Lake Effects, Lower Beverly Lake Campground and Park, Northern Edge, PartyLite – Alison Tomney, Rosie Yumski’s Fine Foods, Sari, SoulSpice Photography, Thousand Islands Playhouse and Vanilla Beans. Thanks were extended to all supporters and sponsors.
“We could never do any of this without all the help we get from them,” said Marks. “We thank you all so very much, and hope to work with you again next year.”
To learn more about the Rideau Islands and Lakes Theatre School, please go to http://www.theatreunmasked.ca/ .