Friday, May 27, 2011
This week, I had the honor of attending the premiere of the documentary film Make Believe. The film profiles six teen magicians as they prepare for the Teen World Championship. Some awkward, some shy, some controlling and some overbearing, all of these kids feel different then their peers but all have found a place to belong in the world of magic. These passionate kids spend hours preparing their acts and sitting alone in their bedrooms with decks of cards. Some of these teens practice magic six hours a day, seven days a week to get ready for the competition. This is a film about the hard work it takes to follow your dreams and all the support you need along the way. I expected to see Tiger Moms cracking a whip to motivate these kids. Or even to see a few moms worried about the amount of time their child spent alone in the basement. Instead, the movie presented thoughtful and loving parents, moms supporting, cheering and aching alongside their babies.
I thought I would have to be a Tiger Mom, forcing my daughter to wet herself on the piano bench in order to push my child to achieve her best. But this movie is proof that when a kid finds something they are passionate about, you don’t need a whip, you only need love, support and discipline.
In one poignant scene, a South African mother sits next to her son in a sparse kitchen with a dirt floor and tells us that her friends have to worry about their children out at night abusing drugs, drinking and getting robbed at knifepoint. She paints a picture of crime and poverty in her village that can’t help but make you feel fearful for the future of her young son. But she looks over at her smiling boy, “But not my son”. While those other boys are in the street, she tells us that hers is in his room practicing his magic. And when he shows off his skills in the village, he is a beacon of confidence and hope.
Tonight in Los Angeles, at the Laemle 5 on Sunset, four teenage magicians walk the red carpet of a movie about their very own lives. The awkward teens tell stories and giggle and even perform a trick or two for the reporters. Standing behind the red velvet rope, holding back tears of pride, are their moms.