Wow, what a busy weekend that was!
We picked the boys up from school on Friday afternoon and made the four hour drive to my hometown. We basically got there and went to bed.
Saturday morning I helped my mom get ready for a big family party. The film festival worked out so nicely because it happened to be on the same weekend as my grandma's 90th birthday party, which was basically a big family reunion. My grandparents on my moms side had seven kids and most of those kids also had big families so I have lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. I have close to 40 cousins on that side. Growing up, our family was really close. Almost everyone lived within about a two hour radius, so family parties were frequent and so much fun. I grew up with tons of cousins who were always around for holidays and reunions. I loved it. Some of my best memories of my childhood are with my cousins.
Then we all grew up and got married and spread out around the country and it got a lot harder to keep in touch. A lot of them still live in the area where we grew up but several of them live in different states and family parties are hit and miss. There is still a yearly family reunion in the summer and a party around the holidays, as well as other smaller get togethers during the year but as we have all spread out it's not often that everyone can come. We're not always able to make it to family parties and I don't get to see my cousins as often as I would like.
But yesterday we were able to be there for my grandmas big birthday party and it was pretty well attended by a lot of aunts and uncles and cousins. There were cousins there who I haven't seen in close to 10 years. A lot of us keep in touch on Facebook so I know what a lot of them are up to and I see photos of their kids and things but it was so fun to see everyone in person yesterday and catch up.
I was a bit in and out at the party though because it was at the same time as part of Josh's film festival activities. From 12-4 yesterday they had filmmaking workshops at the public library. This is the library in the town I grew up in and when I was a kid the library was my favorite place in town. I would beg my mom to take me to the library on Saturdays. There's something about that library that just makes me happy. I love being surrounded by books. Anyway, it was really fun to take my own son to that library yesterday. I had a moment yesterday of "Hey! Look at me all grown up taking my child to the place my mom used to take me so often when I was a kid"!
I get ridiculously nostalgic whenever we go back to my hometown and it drives everyone crazy. As I was driving Josh to the library yesterday I was pointing out significant landmarks from my childhood along the way. I thought he was enjoying it and then he said "Mom, is this actually the way to the library or are you just driving me down memory lane?" It WAS, in fact, the way to the library. I can't help it if significant events from my childhood happened along the way. :)
Anyway, I dropped him off and went back to the party and he had a fun time at the workshop. He's at this age where he no longer needs me to accompany him to things. I offered to stay with him and I hung around for a few minutes until I realized that he was the only one with a parent. I'm having a lot of those moments lately where I realize that he doesn't need to be accompanied by his mommy anymore. I don't know how I feel about that. (Actually, sad. Sad is how I feel about that.)
At the workshop they got to practice using real filmmaking equipment. They got to carry around a boom mic and yell "quiet on the set!" and wheel the big camera around. It was kind of fascinating to a techy kid like Josh. I came back at the end and I got a chance to watch a few of the films in the competition. During the workshops they played them all in a room if anyone wanted to wander in and watch a few. Josh went in and watched his and was excited that people laughed at the appropriate parts. It was fun for him to watch people watch his creation.
We also got a chance to check out the competition a bit. There were some absolutely knock your socks off amazing films that you would never guess were made by kids. Seriously, a couple of them kind of blew my mind. This is the first year that middle school kids have competed. In the past it was just for high school kids and apparently there are some amazing talented high school kids out there.
I originally thought that middle school kids were only going to compete against middle school kids, but that wasn't the case. There was a "best of the junior division" prize that was only for middle schoolers, but their films were still entered with the high school students for all the category prizes. That made me a little nervous. There is generally a pretty big difference in skill and maturity between a 12 year old and a 17 year old and some of those high school films were pretty freaking amazing.
Josh was in the animation category and after I saw some of the live action films I am SO glad he entered an animation. A few of those live action films looked like they were made by professionals. They would have been hard to beat. The animation category was smaller and his skills really are better in animation.
That evening we all gathered in a theater at a middle school and they announced the winners and showed the winning films. It was pretty cool, the films were judged by a local newscaster and a local filmmaker and they provided commentary about each film before it started. They did a good job and gave great comments about each film. I was so nervous for Josh. They got to the animation category and announced Josh as the winner and his face just lit up. He was SO excited! He got to go up there and accept his $300 prize and the judges made several great comments about his film. Then we got to watch it and it was really fun to hear people laughing and clapping at the end. It was so fun for him to see his movie, with his name in the credits, played on a movie screen with an audience. What a great experience for a 12 year old!
He was the only middle schooler entered in his category, which means he beat out high school kids. In fact, he was the only middle schooler to win any award in the festival, besides the junior division prize, which was only for middle schoolers. I could not possibly be more proud of that kid. He rocks.
After the festival we went out to dinner to celebrate and he ate a brownies and ice cream for desert. If you beat out high school kids in a film contest, you can eat anything you want. :)
So between the big family party and the film festival, it was an extremely busy and completely exhausting day, but it was so awesome.
This morning we got up and made the four hour drive back home. It was a super quick trip but it was really fun. I'm so glad that I got to see my extended family and celebrate my grandmas birthday with her, and the film festival was such a great experience for Josh. On the way home he told me that he came up with four more movie ideas and was in the back seat writing them all down. What's next for Josh? I guess we'll have to wait and see! :)