As a film director, Mike Mitchell shows his work at film festivals and pre-release movie screenings where he keeps his eyes on the audience, noting their emotions as the film streams.
When the Oklahoma City native and film director took Trolls, a 2016 animated musical comedy adventure film about two Troll dolls on a quest to save their village, he expected the film to bring laughter and joy to the audience. As Mitchell watched the audience, the film’s charming characters stirred emotions amongst the youngest members, many who stood up and began to groove.
“We went to Canada, Italy and all over the world to show our film to kids,” Mitchell told Oklahoma Gazette. “Those kids got up and danced. I would never think to stand up in a theater and dance, but these kids didn’t even think twice about it. It was amazing.”
When Trolls screens Saturday as part of deadCenter Film Festival, children and adults are encouraged to dance, Mitchell said. The Putnam City North High School alumnus directed the blockbuster, billion-dollar film starring Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick. Mitchell, who also directed Shrek Forever After and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, among many others, will accept an Oklahoma Film Icon Award during this year’s festival.
Mitchell will introduce Trolls through a panel talk called Creating the Animated Feature Trolls 1 p.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive. Film fans and families as well as aspiring animators are encouraged to attend the panel discussion as Mitchell shares how he and his team created the film, which earned considerable
“It’s a character that everyone is familiar with, yet there was no story or mythology to Trolls,” Mitchell said. “There wasn’t even a lead character. …This was an opportunity to dig in and see why these toys stand the test of time, and even better, let’s create the story.”
Following the discussion, Trolls screens at 1:30 p.m. Mitchell will be watching for dancing as well as laughter from the audience.
“It is so great when a film can be for everyone,” Mitchell said. “I love it when there is a joke and you see a father laughing who looks down at their child who is also laughing.”
The popular free KidsFest community event moves from Myriad Botanical Gardens’ Great Lawn into indoor theaters and screens twice during this year’s festival.
Before Trolls hits the screen on Saturday, deadCenter presents the annual KidsFest Shorts, which run 11 a.m.-noon at the museum. Noon-1 p.m. Sunday, the 13 family- and kid-friendly short films screen at Harkins Theatres Bricktown 16, 150 E. Reno Ave.
This year’s film shorts include The Three Tales of a Coin, an 11-minute film about a coin with dreams of experiencing the world through many pockets; Dear Congress, a visual letter to Congress from American children; and A Little Love Goes a Long Clay about cyberbullying.
Learn more about deadCenter Film Festival in this week’s Gazette.
deadCenter KidsFest Shorts
11 a.m. Saturday
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Harkins Theatres Bricktown 16
150 E. Reno Ave.
1:30 p.m. Saturday
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Print headline: Just dance, Trolls and KidsFest Shorts are deadCenter’s family fun features.