What is New Castle watching? The KenKen Movie on NCCMC

See “The KenKen Movie” in “Read more…” and learn to make movies Wed. Feb. 2 at NCCMC 2-4pm
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
by Barbara Kornreich

If you’ve been wondering what’s going on at the New Castle Community Media Center these days, check out The KenKen Movie – a short, suspenseful film about the KenKen puzzle tournament held at the Chappaqua Library in October 2010.

While it may not be an Oscar contender, the movie has already received over a thousand views on the Media Center’s website and has garnered rave reviews from the most important critics:  the residents of New Castle.  “Riveting!”  “I was totally mesmerized!”  “I loved it – very exciting!”  These are just a few of the enthusiastic accolades.

The KenKen movie started as an experimental project

The film is the creation of three local residents – Michael Therrien, Sue Resnick and I – whose friendship was cemented at NCCMC’s new production studio in Chappaqua through our common interest in filmmaking.  Undertaken as an experimental project in the hopes of honing our skills, we didn’t know what to expect when we agreed to film the event.  “We had no idea how many people would show up or what the filming conditions would be,” explained Therrien.  At one point shortly before the event, Joan Kuhn, the Library’s Program Coordinator, told them that only 13 people had signed up.  Resnick, Therrien and and I came equipped with four cameras borrowed from NCCMC, hoping there might be something interesting to shoot.

Much to the surprise of everyone involved, especially Bob Fuhrer, a Chappaqua resident who introduced KenKen in the United States and sponsored the contest, more than 70 people showed up on October 30, ranging in age from 8 to 80.  Even Will Shortz, the puzzle editor of the New York Times, and a self-avowed KenKen addict, was there. 

The competition was fierce.  “We were all shocked at the intensity of the competition,” I recalled.  “We knew we had great footage and the challenge was going to be to convey the suspense and intensity of the tournament.” 

New Castle Community Media Center staff provided editing advice

With the expert technical assistance of the Media Center staff, especially Kyle Spitzfaden,  Coordinator of Training and Development, we edited the video at the studio over the course of the next month and a half.  “At the beginning of the process, our creative ambitions for the film exceeded our skills,” explained Therrien, “but we learned as we went along.”  Now we are all proficient in Final Cut Pro, the state-of-the-art editing software for filmmakers. 

Our film is having a far greater impact than we ever imagined.  Not only is it an entertaining new program that is featured on NCCMC’s cable channels, website and Facebook page, it is also a great advertisement for the library programs and for the vitality of this community.  Bob Fuhrer is going to use the film to help promote KenKen tournaments throughout the world.  [Editor’s note: You can play KenKen on NewCastleNOW’s KenKen page by clicking HERE or on our menu at left.]

But perhaps the most gratifying feedback was from Debbie Olonoff, the mother of Molly Olonoff, the 15-year old Greeley sophomore who won first place in the KenKen tournament.  Debbie had dropped Molly off at the library that morning and had no idea that she was participating in the contest.  “My husband and I were so upset that we missed her crowning achievement.  But thanks to NCCMC, we can relive it over and over again.  This means a lot to us.”

Want to learn how to be a filmmaker too? Come to NCCMC!

NCCMC offers ongoing classes in video production and editing, and is open to anyone (kids are especially welcome!) interested in learning how to use new media, whether for their personal creative expression or to promote their business or organization.  “It’s amazing to have a resource like NCCMC right here in our own community,” said Resnick.  “I could never have learned this much in such a short time anywhere else.” 

Learn how to do what we did

The next introductory class in Final Cut Pro is NEXT Wednesday, February 2, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. To register for the class or get more information, check out the NCCMC website:  www.nccmc.com or stop by the studio at 400 King Street (above Talbots). And don’t forget to watch The KenKen movie, below: 

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

That was an awesome “movie” and i hope they repeat the competition because I will be there.

By Helen Ewen on 01/26/2011 at 2:28 pm

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