While most 10-year-old boys are content with playing with their friends and making pillow forts, Jalen Jones has already accomplished what many adults can only dream about.
Before even reaching middle school Jalen has directed his own 60 minute film, “Bunny Play Date” that hit the stores this week and is available for purchase on Amazon and from various retailers including Target and Best Buy.
The film was shot in three days with a Flip video camera that Jalen received last Christmas, and stars rabbits, baby ducks and chicks that were filmed in the Jones’ backyard.
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According to Manzie Jones, Jalen’s father, Jalen has been interested in film since a very young age and has admired the intricacies of movie making more than most people.
“He started out doing storyboards and comic books. He would make comic books and have a whole story written out with a character from a video game or movie. We started watching behind the scenes stuff and he was really interested in how they did it. He would watch special features more than movie,” Jones said.
Jalen, a student at Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary School, said he hopes to make a career out of making movies and described how a movie on a famous filmmaker led him to pursue his own goals in show business.
“When I was watching a documentary about Walt Disney and how he made movies, I thought I could do it. I’ll try to be big director some day,” Jalen said.
The film has received the Dove Foundation’s seal of approval as a family friendly movie. The foundation examines movies for adult content based on six categories including sex, language, violence, drug and alcohol use and nudity, as well as an “other” category, to determine if a movie is safe for families to watch. “Bunny Play Date” garnered enough recognition from the organization for Dove to place its seal on the DVD’s cover.
Jalen’s father Manzie said he thinks his son’s success is similar to the way other big-name directors had their debut when they were younger.
“[Jalen] used the Flip camera to shoot the movie. He reminds me of directors like J.J. Abrams, [Steven] Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan who started out with the Super 8 camera. A lot of names started like this and now Jalen’s done it,” Jones said.
Jones said the process of finding a distributor was easier than he expected and now that the movie has released, the sales are proving it to be a great success.
“I Googled distribution companies and a couple came up. The same day Celebrity Video Distribution got [the movie] they said they would take it. [CVD] released the movie yesterday, and it is selling like crazy with a lot of orders being sent out to Target, Best Buy, and libraries,” Jones said.
Celebrity Video Distribution, the film’s distributor, has already requested that Jalen film a series based on the premise of his first movie. Jalen, aided by his father and the rest of his family, has already shot footage for “Pony Play Date”, “Kitten Play Date” and “Puppy Play Date”, with more projects on the horizon.