Monday, March 31, 2008

'Jump!' just one interesting film at festival

To the average Joe or Jane, the Sarasota Film Festival may not necessarily be about attending parties or hob-knobbing with the stars. It may just be simply about the films.

One of several films getting a lot of buzz at this year's festival, which begins Friday, is "Jump!" — a documentary about jump roping as a competitive sport. The film will screen 7:30 p.m. April 10 and 1:15 p.m. April 12 at the Hollywood 20 in Sarasota.

I'm not talking about your typical elementary school "Jump Rope for Heart" kids. This film highlights teenagers and young adults who perform back flips, dance tricks and other creative, daring stunts to the skip of a rope.

"Jump!" is directed by Helen Hood Scheer, who will be in attendance at the screening of her film with the championship team, The Summerwind Skippers. The group will give a live demonstration. It's an opportunity that shouldn't be missed, especially if you have children who fancy the jump rope. The film follows several jumpers — including the Summerwind Skippers — across the country as they make their way from regional competitions to the world competition of jump roping. Yes, I said WORLD. Apparently, jump roping is a very big sport, not only in the United States, but in Japan, South Africa and Europe. I find that amazing.

I'm not as coordinated to jump rope like the folks in "Jump!" Growing up, I thought it was an achievement to just get 10 jumps into a fast-swinging set of double dutch. The last time I attempted to jump rope was about three years ago during a scavenger hunt with friends in downtown Savannah. Our task was have the whole group (15 or so of us) successfully jump rope all at once at least five times to get our next clue. Getting about 30 feet to move at the same time is a real challenge. The task took about 20 minutes. Jumping isn't as easy as you would think, so I commend all the jumpers in Scheer's film.

Be sure to jump your way to the movie screening. —January Holmes

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