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West Jordan Journal

Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Kids comes to the Viridian in April

Mar 31, 2023 02:41PM ● By Linda Steele

Down The Street Still Shot 2020 Pirate kids on a ship. (Courtesy Utah Film Center)

The Tumbleweed Film Festival for Kids has been happening for 12 years and is hosted by nonprofit organization Utah Film Center. Historically the festival has been held downtown in the Salt Lake City Public Library. The festival is now in West Jordan at the Viridian Center. “It is a great place where families already convene because it is close to parks and libraries. We are happy to provide supper affordable and guaranteed family friendly programming for the community,” Festival Director Julie Gale said.

“With the growing population in West Jordan it is our mission to serve families as much as possible through the Tumbleweeds festival. We realized that we would like to grow and expand; West Jordan was the most logical place to do that,” Gale said. 

West Jordan is accessible through UTA TRAX. Having this accessibility makes it easier for families to attend. “West Jordan has partnered with UTA. Any family that goes to the Tumbleweeds Film Festival, and they use TRAX, they show they have tickets for the film festival, then TRAX will be free for the weekend,” Gale said. 

Patrick Hubley, former Executive Director and the brainchild of Tumbleweeds (and who used to work at Sundance) said, “Wouldn’t it be fun if we could do a Sundance experience that is just for kids? They can attend workshops, presentations and watch films with a young kids focus.”

“The Tumbleweeds Festival is programmed by people who are experienced in early childhood development and education,” Gale said. 

Children who are interested in film, making films, drones, gaming, podcasting and special effects will be put into one big Tumbleweed Festival

where they can watch movies and take workshops. There will be films from all over the world, and a local focus this year will be film makers who work in Utah, some of whom will be giving presentations. There will be some influential people attending the festival who are well versed in film making, television, funny commercials and YouTube. Some of the names expected to be in attendance are: Devin Super Tramp, who is well known on YouTube and especially popular with children, the Harmon brothers, who are known for producing funny commercials on television, and the Executive Producer and creators of Napoleon Dynamite will be talkingabout how they started making films with their friends when they were kids and in college.  The leading industry experts in the country from Lehi, Utah will show drone demonstrations in commercials and television. There will be international films with different languages at the festival. For those who don't like to read subtitles, there will be a device to put in your ear and someone narrates the film for you. 

“There’s a little bit of something for everyone who has an interest in media, arts, film or filmmaking,” Galesaid. There are viewing options for everyone, indoor screenings at the Viridian Events Center in West Jordan, or screenings at home or on the go. 

The age group for the festival is 4-14 years old. The presenters want to make sure there is a little something for everybody. There is programming and films that are for 4 years old and up. Some of the films will be for 10 years old and up. There are workshops for 6 years old and up. There will be some family workshops where the whole family can sign up and work together as a team. Parents will be able to make sure films are appropriate for their children. There will be content warnings for children who might be intimidated or startled by some of the noise or bright lights of the films. The festival will provide noise dampening devices for adults and parents so it can be a comfortable experience. There are also ADA accommodations. “We want to make sure the festival is a comfortable experience for everyone. Parents will have all the information they need to know if it is suitable for their kid,” Gale said. 

An affordable feature of the festival is the Clubhouse; it is free. You don’t need a ticket for the Tumbleweeds Festival. You can walk into the festival and it will be free. There will be fun photo booths, caricature artists, arts and crafts, and the chance to try to fly a drone. “We try to make it first, family friendly; second, super affordable, so nobody is saying, ‘oh my gosh this is way too expensive for a family of six to attend,’” Gale said. 

There is a day pass that gets you into every movie you want to see that is $8 per person. You can do family fun for under $50. Workshops are $20, or you pay what you can. There is a sponsorship with companies and organizations that have the same values as the directors have for the festival. Larry H. Miller and UTA TRAX help offset the cost to make it as affordable as possible for the community. Parking is free onsite at the festival. 

“It is our mission to make sure this is family friendly, and where we go to the community rather than the community comes to us. West Jordan is a growing area for young families. We want to be a good resource for families because that’s how we serve the community. We are a nonprofit 

organization. We want to be sure there is a place for the young families to take the opportunity to have something fun to do on a weekend,” Gale said. 

Tickets and passes for Tumbleweeds Film Festival are on sale now. For more information go to Find information on social media, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter #TWDS2023. The festival is scheduled for April 22-23 at The Viridian Event Center in West Jordan, 8030 S. 1825 West.