An avid Back to the Future fan, twelve-year-old Ryan Levine has always had a passion for filmmaking. Inspired by the acting and advocacy work of Michael J. Fox, Ryan is using his passion for film to help raise funds for Team Fox in honor of his grandmother who lives with Parkinson's. With the goal of engaging fellow aspiring filmmakers, Ryan created the Kids Film It Festival -- an international film competition for kids age 8-18 -- with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
"Our family is very excited about Ryan's venture," shares Ryan's mom Lisa. "The Kids Film It Festival combines three terrific elements: Ryan's love for movie making, a tremendous and personal cause, and his entrepreneurial spirit!
We took a few minutes to catch up with Ryan to hear more about the inspiration behind his efforts.
Tell us more about the Festival!
We're collecting submissions from filmmakers age 8-18 within three separate categories: short film, animation and music video. (The deadline to submit films is September 30 and you can find the full list of rules and details on our website.) A guest panel of judges -- including producer Marc Buckland -- will narrow the field and the finalist films will be shown at the festival on November 5, during which the winners will be announced!
We love that you're passionate about fundraising to honor your grandmother. What has this experience meant to you?
I've learned that I can incorporate things that I love to do for great causes. It has been awesome to see so many people support us through this project. If any of my fundraising contributes to a cure and makes my grandmother feel better, it will feel that much more rewarding.
What part of the festival are you most looking forward to?
I can't wait to watch everyone's films and appreciate how much hard work and emotion that they have put into it.
What advice would you give other kids who are interested in fundraising with Team Fox?
You should incorporate your fundraising with something that you're passionate about because you'll work harder and have more fun! It's also great to put together a team and work with other people.
You're a big Back to the Future fan -- what's your favorite quote?
"Roads? Where we are going we don't need roads!"
You've been busy this summer! What have you been doing for fun?
I'm from Cleveland, Ohio and am a huge Cleveland Cavs fan. A highlight this summer was attending Games 4 and 6 of the NBA Finals and then going to the Championship parade with 1.3 million of my friends!
Interested in getting involved? Visit kidsfilmitfestival.com for more information!