Sunday, April 5, 2015

Jack Yonover's Bar Mitzvah Project

It's a big month for grass-roots documentary That Bites!

On Wednesday, April 8th, the 42-minute look at food allergies will screen at the Riverside International Film Festival in Riverside, California. And the following week, Thursday April 16th, there will be a pair of fundraising screenings in the director's hometown of Wilmette, Illinois. The director, who recently turned 13, will be on hand for Q&As.

From the Riverside film festival program notes:

Synopsis: I'm 12 years old, and I have spent the last 12 + months working on a film to educate people about what it's like to have life-threatening food allergies. I offer the unique perspective of a child and most of my interviewees are also kids. Eating is enjoyed by everyone, but for 8% of the earth's population, it can be an inescapable nightmare.

Director: Jack Yonover, a 7th grader at Wilmette Junior High School, began making films at the tender age of 6, when his grandmother gave him his first camera with videotaping capabilities. At his first grade Career Fair, Jack proudly announced that he wanted to be a movie director and producer "because it sounds interesting and fun to be and because it will be entertaining." In pursuit of his dream, Jack has taken filmmaking courses at Facets Film School in Chicago.

As if all that weren't enough, Yonover is also a successful Kickstarter campaign vet. He surpassed, last year, with the help of his parents, a goal of $5,400.

This is just the beginning for That Bites! Thanks to the combination of a youthful director and front-line family health topic, it's guaranteed to have a fruitful festival run. Other initial events where Yonover's doc will screen include , the New Haven International Film Festival in Connecticut (April 16th-19th), Arkansas' Eureka Springs Film Festival (April 22nd-25th) and New York's VisionFest (May 13th-17th).

Per a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, Yonover discovered he had food allergies at the age of ten and initially decided to make a short film about that topic - at dad's suggestion - for his bar mitzvah. When the documentary screens next week in Illinois, it will encompass an unusual exception for Wilmette Theatre patrons:

"Normally, we don't want people to bring in their own snacks to our theater," said Wilmette Theatre executive director Wendy Sharon. "But in this case we can totally appreciate why they're doing it. In fact, we may look at their [Food Allergy Research & Education] vendors to see if there are some things we could provide for our patrons in future."

That rules!

[That Bites! official site]

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