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Today's Family Magazine

International Kids Film Festival to raise money for Parkinson's

Aug 11, 2016 08:57AM ● By Today's Family
Twelve-year old Ryan Levine has a passion for making movies and knows other children who have the same high level of interest. His grandmother has Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that effects more than 5 million people worldwide, and Levine, a long admirer of Michael J. Fox as an actor and advocate for Parkinson’s research, decided to merge the two interests and create an International kids film festival called the Kids Film It Festival.

“Each year, Team Fox members like Ryan Levine play a pivotal role in helping The Michael J. Fox Foundation speed a cure for Parkinson’s, ” said Liz Diemer, Senior Associate Director, Team Fox.  “Not only does their creativity raise both crucial funds and awareness, but their passion truly puts the FUN in fundraising. It has been inspiring to see Ryan’s passion for film come to life through the Kids Film It Festival, and we can’t wait to see the great success that is sure to follow.”

Best Buy, a sponsor of the event, is presenting $500 gift cards to the winners in each age category and genre. The event is open to children ages 8-18, has three different age groupings and three different categories; animation, music, and film. Submissions are done through the website at and the Festival is looking for children to submit their creations now through Sept. 30, 2016.

Currently, two former Clevelanders who have achieved great success in the entertainment world have agreed to be celebrity judges; George Cheeks, recently promoted to President of NBC Late Night Programming and Business Ops, Hawken class of ’83 and Emmy Award Winning Director and Producer, Marc Buckland., Orange ’83.

“Michael J. Fox is an incredible actor but what he has done for Parkinson’s disease is even more impressive,” explained Levine. “ I love movie making and know so many other children have the same passion and thought by creating a competition and festival it would be an interesting way to join together two great causes.”

All sponsorship fees from the Festival will go to Team Fox, the grassroots fundraising arm of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF).  MJFF’s mission is to help speed better life-changing treatments, and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s disease, through high-impact research programs.

In addition to funds raised from sponsors, the Kids Film It Festival has created a list of unique sports experiences to put on Charity Buzz to raise additional funds for MJFF. Charity Buzz is an online auction site that promotes uncommon items. An example of some of the items donated:  Russell Westbrook signed shoes, Oklahoma City Thunder player meet and great and tickets, Chicago Blackhawks signed hockey post-game locker room tour, Cleveland Indians VIP experience, Celtics meet and greet with Coach Brad Stevens, signed ball and tickets to a game.