Independent film making has hit Southeastern Oklahoma, thanks to the initiative of several children and a few adults with handheld video cameras and stars in their eyes.

The Eufaula Area Arts Council Inc., the Oklahoma Arts Council and the city of Eufaula are sponsoring a free screening of eight short films by area students and residents. It’s set for 5 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Oleta Theater in Eufaula.

“When they first started out they had to come up with an idea,” Eufaula Area Arts Council Executive Director Glenna McBride said. “Then they had to make a storyboard and figure out what kind of script they were going to do. Then they had to make it real, make the film and do all of the editing. Some are pretty amateurish, but they learned something and had a lot of fun.

“But a couple of adults have done some pretty professional things.”

The screening is the culmination of the Eufaula council’s first summer film class. The class was mainly for children between 9 and 12, but a few adults, including two parents, also tried their hand at independent film making.

McBride said most of these films share a common theme.

“All these children like doing spooky stuff,” she said. “We’ve got zombies and a room you can’t get out of. There’s some magic crystals, you know, subjects that would interest young people.

“But the scary movies will be very funny once you see them.”

McBride said she hopes this class is the first of a three-year series that will wrap up during the state’s centennial celebration. She has been working with the coordinators of the Bare Bones Festival, an Oklahoma indie film festival that draws entries from all over the country, to create a festival in Eufaula.

“We’re hoping to have a full-blown film festival next year. We’re trying to get it organized already,” McBride said. “Hopefully we’ll draw a lot of entries. These little movies are just local, homegrown movies. None of them are over 10 minutes.”

For more information about the screening or the Eufaula Area Arts Council, contact McBride at (918) 689-5362.

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