Not many seventh-graders get to screen a film at an actual movie theater – popcorn, Icees and all.
That’s exactly what 12-year-old Aiden Hurley did Sunday morning at Stadium 9. To a crowd of about 75 people, Aiden, a student at Mountain Middle School, unveiled his 22-minute film “18 Frames” on the big screen.
The film is about two girls, played by Helene Brimhall and Rio Edmondson, who go into the mountains to film a Super 8 movie. They end up encountering a strange creature, which leads to a run-in with a government agent, played by stuntman and actor Randy Hall.
“18 Frames” took a total of seven days to film over the course of the summer in the woods around Durango.
For Aiden, filmmaking runs in the family.
“My dad and cousin are really into filmmaking and had made little short films before, and I had also been to festivals and stuff, and I just thought, ‘I could do that,’” he said.
And for the next year, he did exactly that – taking his movie from idea to the theater, shooting “18 Frames” on film, rather than digital.
“I like the look of film a lot better,” Aiden said during a question-and-answer panel after Sunday’s screening. “I had never been able to shoot on film before, so we figured, ‘Well, what the heck? Might as well. Might as well send a letter and try to see if we could get some film.’ Fortunately, we did.”
The letter Aiden sent was to Kodak, and it did indeed work: The film company sent him more than $6,000 of 35mm motion picture film. To keep Kodak updated on his progress, Aiden sent the company weekly reports and photos throughout the film’s production, said his father, Cornelius Hurley.
Kodak wasn’t the only company that helped Aiden. He contacted Fotokem in Los Angeles about developing and scanning his footage. Fotokem also came through, gifting him both services.
His father said that Aiden also footed some of the bill himself – raising the money he needed by babysitting and chores.
“He’s been into movies over the last couple of years,” said Aiden’s mother, Amy Hurley. “He started the screenplay last spring, and after he completed the screenplay, we decided this summer that we would go ahead and shoot the film.”
For Aiden, the journey of “18 Frames” isn’t over just yet. After the screening, Joanie Leonard, executive director of Durango Independent Film Festival, announced that “18 Frames” would be shown during the annual festival.
And with all this exposure, can we expect more movies from Aiden – is this perhaps the beginning of a career in film?
“It’s definitely something that I enjoy, and that I would like to continue doing, but I’m not exactly sure,” he said.