Posted Online: March 14, 2008, 8:56 am

Teens get red carpet moment at libraries Youtube contest

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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Jack McNeil of Moline is chased for an 'interview' by Angela Campbell as he struts down the red carpet at the 'Teen YouTube Contest' video premier at the IMAX in Davenport on Thursday night, March 13. For the project, Jack and his friends made the video 'Hatchet: Revisited' winning the awards for Best Drama and Librarians' Choice.

DAVENPORT -- Several local teens got to walk down a red carpet Thursday night and watch the premieres of their first films at the Putnam Museum's IMAX Theatre.

Eight movies, each three to five minutes long, were submitted by area teenagers for the first annual "Teen YouTube Contest." Quad-Cities libraries teamed up for the project, in which students created a movie changing the ending of their favorite book or showing why they love public libraries.

"We had a great turnout. Twenty teens were involved," said Christie Vogt, an assistant at the Davenport Public Library and an organizer of the event. "For the first year, I think it's really good."

She offered filmmaking workshops for students and allowed them to use camcorders and film-editing equipment at Davenport's Fairmount Street Library.

The teens had just one month to put together their films, Ms. Vogt said, done in part to celebrate Teen Tech Week of the American Library Association.

After screening each film at the IMAX, those in attendance got to vote for their favorites. Awards -- nicknamed "the Deweys" -- then were handed out in several categories.

James McNeil, 13, of Moline, won best drama and the librarians' choice for his "Hatchet ... Revisited." The four-minute film is based on "Hatchet," by Gary Paulson, which tells a harrowing tale of a plane crash in the snowy Canadian wilderness.

Mr. McNeil, a seventh-grader at Wilson Middle School, changed the book's happy ending by having the main character encounter someone else who is lost, with an ambiguous ending.

"I'd like to thank everyone who helped me with the movie and the libraries for doing the contest," he said in his acceptance speech.

He said later that he filmed one day at the Quad City International Airport and one day in the woods at his parents' and grandparents' Moline homes. His 10-year-old brother, Jack, starred on screen, and his 16-year-old cousin, Kathleen Bracke, spent about five days editing the movie.

His 13-year-old cousin, Michael Suiter, also had a small part in the film. Mr. McNeil -- who wore a jacket and tie to the red-carpet event -- said he definitely wants to make more movies.

The other winners were:

Best acting: "A Drum Discovery" by Jessica Moose

Best direction: "The Hydras" by Marcus Dammann

Best technical effects: "Why We Love Our Library" by Austin Bundy and Gavin Wright

Best comedy: "By the Book" by Hannah Jacobs and Bethany Jones

Viewers' choice: "Why We Love Our Library"

The winners of viewers' choice and librarians' choice also received a $100 prize.

All of the films can be seen at www.youtube.com/group/qclibraries.