Release Date: July 25, 2003
Limited release

Failed American Idol contestants.

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Todd Graff drew inspiration from his experiences at Stagedoor Manor, a camp for kids interested in the performing arts, including serving as a camp counselor to a young Robert Downey, Jr. for his directorial debut, Camp. That pretty much sums up the plot as we spend a summer with the incredibly talented kids who attend Camp Ovation. Their love for musical theater makes them outcasts in "the real world," but at Camp Ovation they find a welcoming home where a picture of Stephen Sondheim is more likely to be a camp bunk decoration than a poster of Justin, Britney, or Eminem.

Camp can be viewed as Fame for the 21st Century as the film mixes teen soap opera featuring kids figuring out who they are and where they stand as they head towards adulthood with stellar musical numbers. A fairly candid look at teen sexuality earns Camp its PG-13 rating, though it deals more with the sexual politics than any raunchy American Pie type antics that keep it suitable for the under 17 crowd. While the plot serves to move the film along and provide some laughs, it is the musical numbers that amaze. The cast of unknowns handles a mix of songs from classic musicals that simultaneously amuse (due to the visual absurdity of these kids handling such material) and astound (because they are still so damn good) and a few original numbers, including the show-stopping, and if there's any justice eventually Oscar nominated, "Here's Where I Stand."

In a time of American Idol, American Juniors, Fame (the television show), etc. Camp shows it's still possible to discover incredible fresh talent without the aid of a reality television show. Combined with the theme of discovering your place in the world, Camp seems poised to win over the demographic of teenagers (and anyone who remembers what it was like to be a teenager.)

Vital statistics for Camp
Main Cast Daniel Letterle, Joanna Chilcoat, Robin De Jesus
Supporting Cast Tiffany Taylor, Sasha Allen, Alana Allen, Anna Kendrick, Don Dixon, Steven Cutts, Vince Rimoldi, Kahiry Bess
Director Todd Graff
Screenwriter Todd Graff
Distributor IFC Films
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 114 minutes
Screen Count 3
  • Audience Award for Best Film, Provincetown International Film Festival

Awards page for Camp
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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