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West Jordan Journal

Tumbleweeds Film Festival aims to provide creative opportunity for kids

May 06, 2024 12:57PM ● By Linda Steele

Children watching at the festival (Photo courtesy Utah Film Center)

This marks 13 years for the Tumbleweeds Film Festival and the second year the festival was held in West Jordan at the Viridian Event Center. 

“The idea for the festival is to be in a public community space, and provide low-cost or free opportunities for media arts education for kids and families,” said Julie Gale, festival director of Tumbleweeds. 

The Tumbleweeds Film Festival is about watching fun movies that you can’t find on Disney+ or Netflix. The films are good stories, and some films are from around the world. 

At the festival a lot of kids make their own content and find a lot of joy in being creative and unique. It is a great way for kids to share their experiences with other kids and the community. 

Because a lot of kids make their own content, there is a kids film competition that is in its second year. The film festival has workshops and free activities so kids can explore and learn about ways to be creative and make content. 

“The goal of the festival is to not only be a lot of fun, but it’s guaranteed to be something that kids two years old and up will enjoy. It’s also something the whole family can go to and enjoy,” Gale said. 

There are some special guests that showed up to the festival this year. These guests work in the film industry and live in Utah. The film festival was excited that JK! Studios, who is the original cast of BYU Studio C, was at the festival and talked about sketch comedy and how they come together to make movie scripts and films. 

With the workshops being low-cost a child or a family can take the workshops together. The workshop is hands-on where the kids or families can make a short stop animation movie. The festival features an all-Spanish workshop because there is a large Spanish speaking community in the West Jordan area. This workshop uses simple equipment and materials to make the films. 

 There are special guests that show up at the festival, plus workshops and film making. There is a feature that is called the Clubhouse in the lobby of the Viridian. There are artists, activities that family and kids can enjoy at no cost so the kids can get an idea of fun activities and see how films are made. The Clubhouse feature is fun for small children, older kids and the whole family can find something fun to do. 

Utah Film Center partnered with the Salt Lake County Library System to screen the six films at no cost. 

For Gale, it’s about opportunity and proficiency. “We really want to create a festival that gives kids the opportunity to express themselves through media arts, and also do it in a thoughtful way. Because it is one thing to turn on a camera and start filming, it’s another to turn on a camera and start filming and be able to tell a really good story, and add creative touch and have fun,” Gale said.

The festival shows the kids how to make movies with what they have, whether it’s a camera, smart phone, tablet or laptop. The festival has a small supply of equipment to use in case they don’t have anything to work with. 

The Tumbleweeds Film Festival will happen again in April 2025 at the Viridian Event Center. For more information go to λ