East Lansing Film Festival screens animated documentary

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By Zach Robertson
Entirely East Lansing ELFFCrop

“Fufu the Lawyer Wizard Dog” and “Adventures of the Tree Climbing Ghost Superhero” are just two of the stories director Danny Kim brought to life in his documentary “The Stories They Tell” when it screened opening night of the East Lansing Film Festival.

Kim, a 25-year film industry veteran, set out to capture power of imagination between two generations. With the help of his partner, professor Siu-Lan Tan of Kalamazoo College, Kim documented college students and young children working together to write stories in her child development course.

The college students would partner with children based on similar interests. Then, the children would tell stories to Tan’s students who would transcribe and help flesh out each idea.

Calling the experience “magical,” Tan is proud of the stories that come from each year of her child development project.

“The stories cover a range,” said Tan. “Some are silly like ‘Fufu’ but others are serious about aspirations.”

In his documentary, Kim presents the stories as short animated bits.

“Sometimes they’re the whole story, but other times they’re just short entertaining parts,” said Kim.

Entirely self-edited and self-financed by Kim, making the documentary took two years. Kim said animators were a big part of the project.

The documentary received high praise at its premiere.
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“When ‘The Stories They Tell’ screened Friday night, almost every vote cast was in the green smiley emoticons,” said Volunteer Coordinator Liz Harrow. “It was our surprise hit.”

Kim, who said he was pleased with the reception, had kind words for the East Lansing Film Festival.

The East Lansing Film Festival “is great,” said Kim. “Nothing against our screening in Ohio, but the festival here is excellent and really well organized.”

Danny Kim said his Twitter page will have updates on how to see “The Stories They Tell” for East Lansing residents who missed the Film Festival.

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