Creative magic—the kind that turns charcoal-pencilled drawings into animation—that’s the magic of KINO (the German word for “film”).

Edward Westerhuis says he’s the “official unofficial organizer” of KINO. He’s also the momentum behind KINO Returns, after boasting a sold-out audience last December.

“It’s a movement that originated in Montréal, Québec, an incentive to help filmmakers make movies without any restrictions. You can show anything you want; there’s nothing you can’t show or do.

“There’s real freedom of expression.”

It’s a grassroots collective, Westerhuis says, for people who want to make movies and would not wait for someone to hand it to them. They come together and make it work for themselves.

“Some people compare it to Brave New Words … the “Brave New Words” of filmmaking.

All that is required to make a film, he says, is desire and commitment. And of course there are deadlines.

“The means to make a movie is becoming simpler and simpler.” And it’s varied, using animation, motion graphics, documentaries, 16-mm cameras, actual film, video cameras, photographs strung together (one of the simplest ways to make a movie, says Westerhuis) with music and captions.

Claymation or “stop animation” is something Westerhuis hopes to see used in KINO’s short films.

“A short film is usually 120 minutes,” he says, then adds that most at the December screening were between five and 10 minutes long; his own, Untold Stories of Sammy Smalls, Part 1 [his smile says, Watch for the sequel!] was just one minute long, an animation breathed into being on half sheets of office paper, using a registration table, a scanner and a computer program called After Effects.

He retrieves a shoebox, selects a set of drawings, flips through them like someone shuffling a deck of cards, and the figures on them spring to life.

Most KINO members work independently, editing their own films, although Westerhuis says he networks with filmmakers and they share resources; for instance, “One guy has a harp collection, so that could be used; someone else has access to a camera … We help each other.”

“It’s a bit of a younger crowd [in their 20s], but Westerhuis anticipates they will secure enough funding to expand to where “anybody who’s interested in making movies can make movies.”

“We had a really successful showing in December [at the Golden Apple]. We sold out. We made our money back from all of the publicity … very successful … very good vibe.

“There was a really popular film about these bunny rabbits who drank carrot juice [they ran out and became, well, let’s just say, aggressive].”

Edwards offers a teaser from his next film, saying it will be another charcoal-pencil animation featuring Chief Whitehorse. He pulls another set of drawings from the shoebox, and the Yukon River churns through the pages.

Edwards has submitted films to other festivals in Canada and says that some participants have submitted films to the Dawson City International Short Film Festival.

Watch for the KINO Returns! short-film screening on May 7 at The Old Fire Hall. For more information or to register, go to or send an e-mail to

The filmmaker/organizer advises film enthusiasts to arrive early as tickets for the December screening sold out early.