Monday, August 30, 2010

"There's One I in President"

Last week I attended 826 NYC's (the organization where I volunteer and mentioned in a previous post on this blog) third annual film festival "Erasers for Breakfast." Every summer when school is out, the center organizes the kids in making a series of films which they then showcase at the end of the summer. The kids do all the writing, directing and acting, and the finished products are always phenomenal. I think the films seemed particularly wonderful this year because the day before the film festival I went to a play as part of the Fringe Festival here in New York. I watched a truly awful robot puppet musical (perhaps that should have been my first clue), the name of which I won't mention because its run is over and I don't think anyone has to worry about being subjected to it. Seeing this work made by adults fall so flat made it seem that much more impressive when a puppet musical made predominantely by six year olds at "Erasers for Breakfast" acheived a much more coherent narrative. And I'm serious, it's not just because it was made by six year olds and anything they make is cute. It really was legitimately better in all possible ways. As a side note, the fact that I can see not one but two puppet musicals in a two-day period is just one of the many reasons I love living in New York.

At any rate, my favorite film of the festival was one written by a group of 9-12 year olds. It was a mockumentary of the political career of a cyclops trying to become president called "There's One I in President: The Bob Hopewell Story." This isn't technically a review because a review implies you might actually be able to see the production after hearing what I thought of it. And sad to say, "There's One I in President" is only for purchase at 826's Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, and I don't know how many of my Astorian, and non-New York readers will feel up to the commute. Also, you can't really properly review any creation by children (especially children you know) because any review that falls short of gushing basically makes you a jerk.

So I guess, as this isn't a review, I really just want to write to marvel at how creative these kids are. "There's One I in President" chronicles one of the last cyclopes on Earth and his path to the White House, ultimately derailed by an opponent spearheading a campaign for anti-Cyclops legislation. The story was simultaneously hilarious and poignant, not to mention demonstrating an understanding of current politics and parody that go far beyond the creative team's years. I don't want to spoil the ending...but really I might as well, since I've just told you that you'll be unlikely to find this in a video store near you. In the end, Bob Hopewell decides not to go through with a dangerous surgery that will give him two eyes and make him eligible (there's two i's in eligible, after all) to run as a "normal" person. However, the epilogue assures the audience that Bob will continue to fight the legislation and possibly run in 2012.

Hands down best short film I've seen since the opener of Toy Story 3.


  1. That is so adorable! What a great creative outlet for kids! I would love to have seen something like that for my lil bro (drama and film lover!) when we were growing up!

  2. Haha, I love it! It kind of reminds me of something you were involved in in elementary school...I don't remember what it was called but it was basically an after school program where you did creative skits and stuff.

    Do you know what I'm talking about? Anyway, I love hearing about the stuff you get to do in NY. :)

  3. Rachel, I don't know what you are talking about. Or wait, was it FPS? That's the only thing I can think of, but we weren't creative at all. In fact, I don't think we ever fully understood what to do...

  4. Haha! I love this! I wish I could've seen it. And anytime anyone mentions children's theater (I guess this was a film, but whatev) I think of the David Sedaris story, "Front Row Center With Thaddeus Bristol"

  5. No, it wasn't FPS. It was in elementary school but I wasn't in it...I just remember you showed me a video of y'all doing it. But then I remember Erica being in the video, and she wasn't in elementary school with us.

    Yeah, all I remember from FPS was the food they provided. And the fact that I threw up the pizza they gave me one time.