reel spirit


In 2005, three educators collaborated to form Reel Spirit to highlight the cinematic endeavors of children. Barbara Noble, Rebecca Palmer and Toni Travalent had a vision in the great Hollywood tradition from Cecil B. DeMille to Steven Spielberg and to “put on a show” spotlighting children created productions.

The first Reel Spirit: Young Filmmaker Showcase was held in April 2006. Since then, over 1400 young filmmakers have participated.

From 2006-2011, Reel Spirit provided an opportunity for young filmmakers from 2nd grade through 8th grade, to showcase achievement in cinematic productions in an authentic manner.

In 2010, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) category was added.
In 2012 the showcase extended to include grades 9-12. Two new board members joined the board: Linda Thee and Wanda Hartter.

In 2015 Cindy Sheets joined the board.

Every year, entries are reviewed and evaluated by independent judges from different fields of cinematic media. Winning productions are shown in a movie theater where young filmmakers receive “Oscar” like trophies and certificates in addition to the “red carpet” treatment. During the event, filmmakers have the opportunity to attend production workshops led by professionals in the cinematic arts.

Categories for submission currently include narrative, documentary, public service announcement, news feature, commercial, and animation.

As today’s youth grow up in a visual age, it is Reel Spirit’s intent to encourage inventive involvement in the digital storytelling process. Through cinematic production, the positive outcomes for these filmmakers are priceless in terms of self-esteem, problem solving, cooperation, character building, and perseverance.

Inspiring and empowering young filmmakers and celebrating their cinematic visions is the wide-screen projection of Reel Spirit.



Reel Spirit, the Youth division of Kansas City FilmFest, provides a youth film contest.

Reel Spirit: Young Filmmaker Showcase educates and nurtures youth by extending learning through the process and science of filmmaking. We encourage and inspire creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving through cinematic arts. The student contest honors achievement in cinematic productions and provides young filmmakers expanding authentic audiences.



Keep Bangin' Magazine:  "Reeling with Excitement"   2018


Sprouts Virtual Camp Fair Online Article, 2017: “What’s it like to lead campers at Reel Spirit

Board of Directors:

Barbara J. Noble
Rebecca Palmer
Toni Travalent
Linda Thee
Wanda Hartter
Cindy Sheets

Come to Reel Spirit Summer camp- learn more and register here!