This is the sixth year of The Eugene Children’s Film Festival, and the first that will be sponsored by Oak Hill School. We have been thinking a lot about what we would like the Eugene Children’s Film Festival to be, both this year and in the years to come.
Our vision is for the Film Festival itself (that is, the annual event) to be a fun community event, celebrating filmmaking and filmmakers, and providing lots of opportunities to both learn and share. We hope that it will be a destination for young filmmakers all over Oregon, and something that we all look forward to every year. And we see the organization - likely outgrowing the name “Eugene Children’s Film Festival” - supporting young filmmakers with activities and events throughout the year.
Our mission statement that reflects that vision:
The Eugene Children's Film Festival celebrates film and filmmaking, and it helps children to create and share their films.
Most of the time, I am the Director of Technology at Oak Hill School. I build and maintain all of the IT systems for the school, and teach technology to students from Kindergarten through High School.
But I also make films. One of the things that I love about filmmaking is the way that it combines art and technology. Making a film requires that you master all of the technical details - hardware and software, cameras and sound equipment and lighting, frame rates and ISO and aperture and depth of field and color temperature and all that stuff - and it also requires that you find the right words and gestures and movements, to tell stories, and to try to discover authentic human moments.
For me, that is the challenge - and the joy - of filmmaking. It is the opportunity to synthesize, to use (as Kitsann might say) “different parts of myself” in new and exciting ways. It requires that I use all of myself and to be fully engaged - and that, in itself, is a gift. I think that is worth doing. And it is something that I’d like to share with all of you.
Kitsann Means is a 30-year teacher of theatre and acting. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre from Southern Oregon University and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Southern California in theater and film. She owned and operated her own theatre company for seven years and served as a director and Educational Coordinator. She is currently the theatre specialist at Oak Hill School in Eugene, Oregon. There, she teaches public speaking, theatre, and film.
Kitsann is known for bringing her knowledge and skills to play in guiding students through all forms of theatre for the stage. She has a special interest in international youth theatre and communication and often teaches in China. In 1991, Kitsann led a group of American students to Siberia, Russia with the Peace Child Foundation. While teaching at Oak Hill, Kitsann, along with 15 students, traveled to Thailand to perform an original musical theatre piece for the King of Thailand, His Royal Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Kitsann has served as a judge for the annual performance competition sponsored by The National Association For The Advancement of Colored People, and the Eugene Children’s Film Festival.
Kitsann’s film credits include two full length student feature films, and she has just finished shooting a movie in Mexico which is currently in post production. She has two more shorts scheduled for production in the next two years.