Movie Club (

Jeffrey Stoffer April 19, 2016

In 2009 I Created a Reading Program called Terror Tuesday. In the program, kids would be escorted into the Library’s multipurpose room for a two-hour program of reading and horror. The program consisted of reading the Skeleton Creek Series written by Patrick Carmen. The books had a portion of reading and between each chapter there was a scary video. (

In the summer of 2010, Patrick Carmen came out with his second Skeleton Creek book and the Library jumped on using it for a sequel to Terror Tuesdays. Before the book was finished, Jeffrey Stoffer talked with the Library tweens about how they could make videos scarier than the ones in the second Skeleton Creek book. This idea inspired the Library to make its first 15 minute feature film, titled, “Diebrary” (

In the span of a week and less than $200, the Library staff shot a Found Footage type movie with a handful of tweens, teens and adults from various departments in the Community.

Diebrary did so well that everyone was interested in what the Library was going to shoot next. Unlike Diebrary, which was written in death scenes, Zirus (Zi, Rus) ( was written by Jeffrey Stoffer as a full script with tryouts and site planning. They shot the film in the first weekend in November 2010.

The film premiered in January 2011. To shoot the film the Library worked with the Recreation Department, Cultural services, Maintenance, the Farms, the Preschool, a Non-profit organization (Education Outside the Box, Inc.) and many others to make the film happened. The movie premiere for Zirus was so big that every seat in the entire building was needed to fill the Library’s multipurpose room. This was the last time a premiere would be done in the multipurpose room because of fire code.

In 2012 the Library shot a vampire film called Suckers ( ) and it had an outdoor premiere with an infallible screen to allow for the numbers based on Zirus’s turnout the previous years.

Diebrary sparked youth interest in films and Zirus added department and Community interest in making films. After Zirus premièred the Library began getting asked to shoot different videos for different departments in the Community (Cart Video shot for Police Department 2011

The Ak-Chin Youth Council (the communities teen peer leadership) also became interested in making films, making a number of PSA’s and News Shows. The also teamed up with Education Outside the Box, Inc (Run by Hilary Cummings) and the Library to make the film Drugs are Scary (

In 2011, I wrote a grant to create a movie program at the Library. With the grant the Library was able to purchase it’s first professional camera and computer with professional software. Over the next year, the Library learned how to use the camera and the video production software. The Library produced a movie for the Fire Department filming the Community’s first all tribal member recruits going though fire training (3-11 Not on YouTube). Tribal council requested the Library also film a documentary of the building of the largest entertainment center in Arizona (Farming Entertainment

Movie Club was born in 2012 ( During Movie Club’s first summer they made 15 films. Their first première in the main Library area.

The Library continued it work at producing and filming video for the community including creating commercials for different departments. All of this video work inspired the Library to create it’s very own Library television station called Library TV. Library TV showed many of the films created by both the community and the Library and broadcasted in the Library Lobby and inside the Library on two televisions.

In 2013, the Library was also asked to make a Commercial for Vekol market to advertise in the theaters at UltraStar. Making the commercial didn’t make this request a challenge, but making it for a theater to broadcast before every movie was. The Library has to learn how to make DCP packages that are basically videos that movie theater computers can read. The Library now had the ability to make moves that could be aired in theaters.

Movie Club 2013 had it’s first film festival in the UltraStar Multitainmant center in Ak-Chin Circle. The turnout was incredible and now the Movie Club kids could truly feel star struck on the big screen.

In November 2013, the Library started a Movie Club workshop program. Every month the Movie Club group would get together and make a movie based on a theme. This is still a strong program keeping tweens and teens growing up with making movies.

Today the Library has over a hundred film participants in it cinema history. With over 26 members currently in the Library Movie Club and growing the future of Ak-Chin Cinema is endless. In ten years with a little bit of nurturing Actors, Directors, Animators, etc. will spread their love of making art in cinema across the country and even the world.

Type: Active
Age: Late elementary
Optimal size: 20+
Estimated cost: $100+
Planning time: 5+ hours
Frequency: Monthly

Learning outcomes

Movie Club has come a long way since it was first created. But at its core, all we really do is gather a bunch of kids who wanted to make movies and run with it. Films can be shot and edited with video camera or cell phones. We teach our participants that a movie is only as good as they want it to be, quality of the equipment is only secondary.


1. Decide whether you are going to make live action films or animations (or both).

2. Decide on the equipment including computers and software (a iPad can both be a camera and be the film editor).

3. Play with equipment so the facilitator(s) knows how to use it.

4. Get of bunch of tweens and teens that want to join.

5. Plan your program so the participants learn the process of film making or animation. After you've made a couple films, start letting the participants ideas become the driving force.

6. Mix and repeat. Check out our films at


Every program has a story.

Technology has definitely gotten better since we started. If we knew now what we new when we started, we would have used Apple products from the start.

iMovie is ok for beginners, but Final cut is great for everything.

Make sure you have enough hard drive space, we had to buy an external hard drive within the first six months of movie making.

Other resources

We teach the use of Creative Commons and try our best to give credit to the media we use. Here's a couple of sites we love for Music and Sound effects.


Sound Effects:

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