Monday, April 28, 2008

award win @ RiverRun

JUMP! won the Audience Award at the RiverRun International Film Festival!

Click here to see a list of the other winning films.

Nick flips with turners Tyler & Brittany of Impact Tri-Force of Cary, North Carolina.
Photo courtesy of Julie and Lauren Warzecho of the Cary YMCA Super Skippers

Saturday, April 26, 2008

RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

I've now seen JUMP! a gazillion times and much as I love my doc, understandably, it has become harder to sit through it time and time again. That said, today's screening was a fun, profound and entirely new experience for me.

I sat at the back of the room, watching a sign language interpreter sign and spell out the film. Seeing the film be so accessible -- and knowing that all kinds of people are enjoying it -- was so moving to me that I starting crying happy tears (not sure that i have ever done that!). This unassuming screening -- for about 250ish people in something akin to a multipurpose room -- must be one of my favorite and proudist film festival experiences to date. I also loved that there were a dozen or so kids sitting up front on the floor. The whole thing seemed very intimate and interactive.

Speaking of interactive -- our educational and community outreach efforts continued in Winston-Salem thanks to the RiverRun International Film Fest, who invited Nick and Tori to attend, and two jump rope teams from Cary, NC: Impact Tri-Force and the YMCA SuperSkippers. Special shout out to The Jump Company of Parkersburg, WV.

We did 5 little live jump rope shows, 3 public screenings, and 1 student screening for approx 200 kids in elementary, middle and high school. During the Q&A, a very cool, handsome and popular high school boy asked Nick what it felt like to be teased for being a boy jumper -- very empathetic and thoughtful. It was sweet to see all the grade levels together, cheering each other on during our jump demo after the show.

There might be something special in the water in W-S. Everywhere we went, people were really, really nice -- from the standing ovations to the free pie to the Triad Harmony Express barbershop quartet, who sang a ditty about jump rope to introduce our live radio interview on Majic 94.1 fm (see video clip!). Since I mentioned food: Ollie's Bakery is the bomb; they make some mean morning treats with cinnamon.

Fun to connect with Britta Erickson (who brought JUMP! to the Starz Denver International Film Fest) and Matt Dentler, both of whom introduced me to Wii. Holy mackerel. I'm hooked.

To start or join a jump rope team -- or to request a performance -- contact USA Jump Rope. I hear that there might be a new team in Winston-Salem; I will post info ASAP if this is indeed the case!

Triad Harmony Express barbershop quartet sings about jump rope
to introduce a live radio interview about JUMP! on Majic 94.1 fm

student screening; interactive demo; britta rocks the wii; jumper Tyler Perez from Impact Tri-Force, Nick, JUMP! filmmakers Scott & Helen; audience ovation

Monday, April 21, 2008


The Cincinnati Ropin' Rockets have finally seen JUMP! Great to hear so much laughter in the theater! And what a trip to see how much the team has grown. Stewart -- who appears just a little bit in the film but will be seen more in the "extras" -- is now taller than me. The skill level of the young jumpers on the Ropin' Rockets is incredible and a testament to Coach Emerson's dedication. We wish their coed team great success at the upcoming world championship in South Africa.

Two local teams -- the Jumpin' Jaguars from Bowling Green, Kentucky and the Hot Shots from Franklin, Tennessee -- also came out to do live jump rope performances.

Festival highlights: seeing Al Gore, brunch at the Pancake Pantry (yum to their sweet potato pancakes) and a Passover breakfast at Nashville's Noshville Deli with Tom Miller, director of the award-winning doc One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story.

Top left to bottom right: Stewart, Katherine & Alyssa of the Cincinnati Ropin' Rockets perform at the Regal Cinemas in Nashville; Filmmakers Tom Miller & Scott B. Morgan; Jumpin' Jaguars meet Al Gore; Gigantic sculpture of Athena, Godess of Wisdom, at Nashville's full-scale replica of the ancient Parthenon; great signage continues.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Short Ends Magazine --> In Conversation

In conjunction with our screenings the Atlanta International Film Festival, Short Ends Magazine posted this feature story about the process of making JUMP!

International Premiere in Toronto

Top left to bottom: cool Sprockets projector-head robot banner •
kids lining up to enter JUMP! screening • organized seating charts
remind me of Tori's jump rope graph • volunteer keeps track of how
many kids enter the theater by using the same clicker that jump rope
judges use for speed events! (our count was 238 for our 2nd screening) •
Marquee showing the other films playing at our theater...a
peculiar pairing with our family-friendly & healthy JUMP! (look close).

JUMP! just had its international premiere at the Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children. I'm not joking when I say that it took a village to get me there -- my dad hopping a 10 foot fence to retrieve my passport, cooperation between 4 airlines, and the perseverance of TIFF's travel guru Tony. And it was all sooo worth it.

I'm very impressed with what they've got going on -- their program focuses on issues relevant to today's youth, including loss of a parent; bullying; poverty; homophobia; immigration issues; teen sexuality; plus fun films like mine and much, much more. They've got almost 100 comedies, dramas, documentaries and animation geared toward grades 1 - 12, from 26 countries in 15 different languages. Plus, they attract filmmakers from around the world, giving the kids a truly unique cross-cultural experience and providing us filmmakers with nice new connections as well. I'm honored that JUMP! was selected to be one of the 7 films representing the USA.

Each of our three screenings -- one for the general public and two school kids -- sold out fast! The audiences were among the best we've had anywhere...very engaged and enthusiastic. Q&As were great -- with most of the questions going to jumpers from nearby Ontario teams. I wish we had more time to talk with the students.

After each of our screenings, kids were using imaginary jump ropes in the parking lot and lobby; one group created a virtual double dutch routine before colliding with a wall.

Thanks to Jumpsations, Lincoln Leapers, and Brampton Arco Skippers for coming out to support the film and giving the audiences a live show. The audiences loved the jumpers and it was a special treat to share JUMP! with these teams because their coaches and parents were especially helpful when we filmed the World Rope Skipping Championship in Toronto.

If anyone wants more info on local teams, please check out the Ontario Rope Skipping Organization by clicking here.

Other major highlights include having a special lunch with TIFF families, hanging with Sprockets Co-Director of Learning Mr. Allen Braude, talking with maybe-relative Emily Scheer, meeting other Sprockets filmmakers, learning about the international circuit of childrens' festivals, and visiting Niagra Falls.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great reviews in Toronto!

Known locally as a tough critic, Norman Wilner reviews JUMP! in Now, the Toronto weekly news/arts magazine. In his story, aptly titled "Worth jumping over: Kid-friendly Sprockets selections put Hollywood flicks to shame", he writes:
An exhilarating documentary about competitive jump rope, [JUMP!] feels like a Hot Docs entry that somehow got shipped to the wrong address. But I’d gamble the Sprockets audience will be more appreciative of the stunning physical feats performed by the American jump-rope teams Scheer follows through gruelling regional and national heats all the way to the 2006 world championships in Toronto. And, yes, I teared up at the end. I dare you not to.
To see the full article, click here.

The Toronto Star names JUMP! as one of the top films to catch. Read here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Soaking it up at the Sarasota Film Fest

Top Left to bottom right: Brentwood Elementary kids are eager to jump after
watching Summerwind Skippers perform • Summerwind on cover of Herald-Trib •
Lee hamming before ABC news interview • Magician Elia tries juggling in the ropes •
Fun in the sun • Sarasota has the best signage ("Let's Go Clubbing" & "Seeking
Someone to Share Gummy Bears") • Musicians at farmer's market •
Helen at awesome bookstore

The Sarasota Film Fest rocks! Not only did they have a nice line-up of films, but the location-- by a gorgeous Gulf Coast beach--and festive parties are tough to beat. Plus, my pal and documentary consultant Sarah Jo Marks of At Risk Films and Kelsy, Calli, Shane & Lee of the Summerwind Skippers were able to come, which made for a completely awesome trip.

SFF matched us with a ACI, a local company that generously sponsored the Summerwind Skippers to attend the festival. With Summerwind on board, the festival's educational outreach department worked with the Sarasota School Board Supervisor of Physical Education to plan a couple fun programs. First, we visited Brentwood Elementary School; 300 kids in kindergarden, 4th and 5th grade attended a 1.5 hour assembly in which they got to see clips from the film, a live jump rope show and participate in a an interactive demo. They begged for a jump rope team to start up at their school.
The following morning we were surprised and stoked to see a great front-page picture in the Herald Tribune of the Summerwind Skippers mid-flip in the Brentwood show. See photo above and check out additional photos in the newspaper's image gallery here.

Next up was an assembly for 200+ 8th graders at Booker Middle school, the city's most diverse campus. Booker was also a lot of fun -- enthusiastic kids with great questions about both the sport and the filmmaking process. And of course, they were also psyched to jump.

Other highlights: hearing that Summerwind was picked up from the airport in a limo, seeing Sarah Jo on a panel about distribution, sunset swim, Miami Rice Pudding ("have a rice day!"), the doc Great Speeches from a Dying World, the magicians (more soon), the farmers market and dancing our hearts out at the closing night party.

great press in Sarasota

+ News story on SNN (this played on the local news approx 4 times) -- while taping, we ran into 3 bus loads of kids on a field trip and did an impromptu performance too.
+ Feature story in Herald-Tribune
+ hopefully, soon i will post appearances on ABC and other spots.