Teens' 'funny, cheesy' film production to be screened today at Oran Library

Saturday, December 8, 2007

ORAN, Mo. --A movie involving Mountain Dew, aliens and penguins, written and acted by teens, will debut today at the Oran Library.

"I really just like Mountain Dew pretty much. And the mascots of the library are penguins, so we said, 'Why not use them in the movie?' It's really funny, a little cheesy, but the storyline is laid out," said Christian Ramsey, 13, who came up with the concept behind "The Great Mountain Dew Heist of Oran."

Money for the 12-minute movie came from a Teen Space Grant the library won last February. A Teen Advisory Board was established, and the eight student volunteers decided to use part of the $9,000 to add purple bean bag chairs and a rug to a designated "Teen Area."

A portion of the money was earmarked for programming, and librarian Virginia Robert suggested the students incorporate camera equipment purchased with the funds.

"Because teens sometimes have so much to do, the library is the last thing on their list. We wanted to make the libraries more teen friendly and bring in things that would interest them," she said.

The students decided to make a movie, hiring Southeast Missouri State University video production major Melissa Lancaster, 32.

Lancaster filmed the teens over two days in October and edited the film.

"They were really professional about it. I was really surprised they did as well as they did for 14-year-olds," she said.

No sets were created, with the students opting to use the library, a grocery store across the street and nature for their scenes. They made their costumes and used purple and blue makeup for the alien characters.

"It's just a bunch of kids goofing off, but it's a good movie," said cast member Lydia Wilsey, 14.

Dawlton Gifford, 11, was in the grocery store buying a soda when the movie was being filmed, and was asked to play the role of the sheriff.

"I think the movie's gold," he said.

Wilsey said she learned two things throughout the process. "One thing I realized is that I am not an actress," she said. "But I also learned how to make better friends with people I didn't know."

The movie will be shown multiple times from 9 a.m. until noon at the library, 120 Mountain St. in Oran. The actors will be present and cookies, soda and coffee will be served.

lbavolek@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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