Inspired by true events, Camp is an inspiring film about hope, sacrifice and selflessness.
Cell-addicted, financial adviser, Ken, volunteers to be a counselor at a camp for foster kids to impress a rich elderly woman he hopes to woo into being a client. With little more than a glance at the training manual, Ken is in for an experience when he gets paired with the most troubled kid there. Eli lost his mother just weeks before to a heroin overdose. His abusive dad is mostly absent from his life. Eli pushes all Ken’s buttons as Ken struggles to realize that he can make a difference in the life of this kid.
Camp was written, produced and directed by a college friend of mine and I was super honored to be asked to screen and review it for you guys. I’ve been happily anticipating this film since I heard about its Kickstarter campaign two years ago.
I will admit that my first fear with some of these smaller inspirational films is the quality of the acting. Let’s face it. I pretty much hid my face in embarrassment during the first 20 minutes of Facing the Giants because the acting was so bad. (Though the movie redeemed itself in the end.) So I was relieved when I realized the acting was good, great in some cases. Miles Elliot shines as Eli and lets you peek into his vulnerability in between moments of spitting and running. Asante Jones kills it as veteran camp counselor Sam. And Matthew Jacob Wayne as the alien-obsessed Redford…well he’s adorable.
I found myself smiling through the first 1:30 minutes of the film, not because the film is always happy, but because it’s REAL. Through my own experience with adopted kids and my conversations with other mom’s, every bit of this film is honest, yet filled with hope. Though the first 5 minutes of the film deal with Eli’s dark family situation, the rest of the film layers on the joy and hope that the camp counselors are determined to pour into the kids during the short week at camp.
Hollywood loves to entertain us. But Camp does more than entertain – it inspires. It beautifully illustrates the huge impact the small sacrifice of a weeks time can make in the life of a child in foster care.
My prayer, and I know it is shared by the entire cast & crew of the film, is that Camp will bring about a movement of adults willing to give one week of their summer and bring home to these kids through Royal Family Kids Camp.
Camp is coming to select cities across the U.S. this month. For more information, click here.
Because I’ve been so moved by the film, I’ve volunteered to create a bit of a social media launch team for Camp. If you’re interested in reviewing the film for your blog, or just being part of getting the word out, please leave your name, email and blog address in the comments or email me at julieATjuliegummDOTcom.
NOTES FOR PARENTS: Camp is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some violence, a crude gesture and brief language. Translation…Eli flips off Ken at one point. There are 2 or 3 uses of “damn” and 1-2 of “hell”. There is an implied beating of Eli – you see his father break a broom handle, come at him and raise it in his hand before the camera cuts out. You also later see the scars of his abuse on his chest and back. The mom leaves the house one night in a short, tight dress and is picked up in a car. There is implied prostitution but it also easily plays off as a “date” and most kids won’t get anything more than that. One camper is scared to go to sleep at night because “he’ll come” – an illusion to sexual abuse but that’s as specific as it gets.
This isn’t a film geared toward kids, but honestly I wouldn’t hesitate to show it to my 10, 12 & 13 year old children with some conversation before it as to what they’ll see. I think it’s a great way to illustrate 1) the problems facing kids THEIR age 2) how we can make a difference in the lives of a child like that.