Whiz Kids: Film Buff Plans Movie Night for Focus on the Arts

Each week Patch will highlight an individual kid, youth group, teen, or sports team that's wowed us with their accomplishments. Meet Burton Chaikin, this week's pick.

Burton Chaikin

▪ Age: 17

▪ School: Highland Park High School

▪ Accomplishment: Burton Chaikin co-directed two mini-series, "Six Shades of Grey" and "Stone Cold," the latter of which he created a website for,www.crackthecase.net.

Along with friend and collaborator Jack Shulruff, Chaikin is organizing Highland Park's first ever "FOCUS Night At The Movies," taking place at 7:00 pm on April 8. Complete with a red carpet, spotlights, and "paparazzi" , The Academy Award-themed event will kick off Highland Park's annual .

Movie Night will feature a currently untitled short co-directed by Chaikin as well as several other student-submitted works. Chaikin and the Focus team have announced screenwriter Allan Loeb (Wall Street 2, The Dilemma, 21) as a speaker for Movie Night. Loeb,a Highland Park alum, will discuss his experience writing scripts as well as his time spent in the film industry.

Chaikin also secured a video presentation from famous director Shawn Levy (Big Fat Liar, Cheaper by the Dozen, Night at the Museum), whom he met when he was twelve while vacationing in Mexico. Since then Chaikin has kept in touch with Levy, and will travel to Los Angeles this summer to work as his intern for two weeks.

 Key to Awesomeness: "I've always loved watching movies ever since I was little… I was always out ditching my friends to go watch movies with my family," Chaikin said.

During a family vacation to Los Angeles, Chaikin took tours of Universal and Warner Bros. studios. He became even more excited about filmmaking after seeing what went on behind the scenes.

In addition to his relationship with Shawn Levy, Chaikin cites directors Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan as major influences.

"Spielberg is obviously one of the greatest directors… I think he's found the balance between creating blockbusters and giving his movies heart, great stories. I really hope to do the same thing with the movies I create."


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