Performing arts survives at Steamboat Springs Middle School |

Performing arts survives at Steamboat Springs Middle School

Local production company helps create 3rd annual student film

Nicole Inglis

— There was no script and maybe a few lines of direction for each scene.

But the 50 Steamboat Springs Middle School students who acted and helped film the school's annual spring movie production in April took the concept of improvisation to a new level.

Sixth-grader Ellie Kolveried, who played a detective in Steamboat Springs Middle School's "Survivor" film production, said each of the actors brought their own quirks to the filming process.

"The detectives have this thing where we'd make a finger mustache," Ellie said. "Every time something weird would go on, we'd say, 'Something smells fishy' with our mustache on."

Kelly Anzalone, owner of KPA Productions and president of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council board, donated about 30 hours of his time to edit the film and said he found himself cracking up at the shticks the students came up with.

"I'm sitting here laughing while I'm editing because these kids are hilarious," he said. "They're so fun to work with. It's fun and refreshing."

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The film portrays a school-wide competition in which the winner of the "Survivor" contest gets an A in any class they want and a pizza party. The plot features a villain trying to cheat her way through the show as other characters aim to foil her plan.

The movie premieres at 5:30 p.m. today at Steamboat Springs Middle School, where the students will see the finished product for the first time.

It's the third year Anzalone and his production crew have donated more than 40 hours of production time to the film — not including the editing process — as a replacement for the middle school theater program that was cut more than three years ago.

But Anzalone said it's all worth it to bring a taste of media and performing arts concepts into the schools.

"They get exposure to the arts at that age," he said about the goal of the program. "This is what it's like to act; this is what it's like to be behind the camera. It gives them that first look at it."

Anzalone said he and his crew probably did $6,000 to $7,000 worth of work for the program, which also enlisted the help of co-directors and local actors Stuart Handloff and Michael David Bauk.

For next year, Anzalone already thinks he has a head start. He recently was approved a $2,000 grant from the Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board to continue the program.

He hopes that will help him work toward a goal of one day expanding beyond Steamboat.

"It's a program that I think with a little more organization … we can do it at all the middle schools in Northwest Colorado," Anzalone said. "Then we get into the schools, and the students they get some exposure to some cool things like the green screen. It's great, the kids love it, and it is really relevant to lots of careers in their future."

Seventh-grader Keala Fraioli, who played the host of the "Survivor" show portrayed in the film, said she plans to go into acting and performing arts as a career.

"I think this is really important, even just for kids to experience being on a stage, and all that. It really helps you," she said. "It's really good experiences and new ways to learn about the stuff you want to do."

And she said that she and her classmates are thankful to KPA Productions and the Arts Council for making that happen.

"That means a lot to us, to know that there are people out there that want us to be able to get that experience," she said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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