Big imaginations lead to big screen

Work of Cranston siblings featured at Providence Children's Film Festival

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The Fisher siblings may be small, but they’ve all got some big imaginations.

Using nothing more than Lego sets, clay, a basic digital camera and a computer program, the Edgewood youngsters created their own short films that are going to be put on the big screen for audience viewing.

Eden, 12, Elliot, 10, Helena, 7, and Harrison, 6, each created and produced their own short film, and each was selected as a feature in this year’s Providence Children’s Film Festival.

The youngsters wrote their own story lines, designed the sets, created the characters, dubbed in character voices and graphics and even display credits at the end of their films. The films, which range from just a minute long to just under five minutes, offer comic relief as well as educational material.

Eden’s film tells the story of a bully using clay animation, or claymation. She said that her school had a PTA Reflections contest going on at the time she created the film, and the topic for that contest was “Believe, Dream and Inspire.” That, she said, was what motivated her storyline.

“I knew I wanted to do something with claymation and I was just lying in my bed when I thought of it,” she said. 

Eden made several small clay figures and then designed a backdrop set, all relative in size. She began taking picture after picture until she had close to 1,000 images, which she downloaded onto her computer. Then, using a program called iMovie, Eden produced her short film. She said that it’s similar to a slideshow without any pausing in between so the images flow into one another. It’s called stop motion filmmaking.

Each of the Fisher siblings used the same concept, but worked with Lego sets in place of clay. Elliot said that he built his storyline based on characters from “The Lego Movie.” In his short film, the characters operate bulldozers, drive cars and maneuver themselves through a three-story building. He has one character act as a robber and another as the hero who protects.

Helena’s film, “Time to Canoe,” is about two Lego characters who arrive in an RV and get all of their gear – including a canoe, a skateboard and a bicycle – ready for their camping trip. Harrison’s film also depicts two Lego characters, one being a ninja. The characters battle one another, and a major outside influence gives one of the competitors a substantially unfair advantage.

Each of the Fisher siblings’ films will be presented at the Providence Children’s Film Festival Showcases. One, the “Regional Edition,” took place on Monday, Feb. 16 at the Avon Cinema in Providence, but a second showcase, the “Multi-Regional Edition,” which will include films from youth from around the world, will screen on Sunday, Feb. 22 at 1:45 p.m. at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum Metcalf Auditorium, located on Main Street in Providence.

Due to limited seating at the venue, reserved tickets are strongly suggested. They can be obtained by visiting pcffri.org/tickets.

Each of the filmmakers at these venues will be given the opportunity to speak about their films and take questions from the audience, according to information provided by the film festival. The Fisher siblings said that while the idea does make them a bit nervous, they are all excited to see their films appear on the big screen.

The Providence Children’s Film Festival is in its sixth season and is, according to Anisa Raoof, executive director for the organization, “designed to encourage talented and committed up-and-coming young filmmakers.” She said the showcases “provide an opportunity for these young filmmakers to talk about both the fun and the challenges they face during the creative process.”

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