11-year-old’s movie raises money for LPCA, Joshua Fund

Lincoln Norfolk and his dog Luke at the premier of Lincoln’s short film, “Finding Home,” at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

LAKE PLACID — He’s 11 years old, made a movie, got it shown in a full-sized theater and donated the proceeds to charity.

Lincoln Norfolk wrote, directed, filmed and edited his short film “Finding Home,” which he presented Monday night at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. The screening sold 137 tickets and raised more than $750 for the LPCA and the Joshua Fund, an organization that rescues dogs that have been abused or who live in high-kill shelters. The Joshua Fund is actually where the Norfolks adopted the star of the film.

The roughly 30-minute movie follows a boy and his dog, Ben and Luke, respectively. After Luke is pretty much left to die, tied to a tree by his previous owner, he escapes and finds Ben, a mild-mannered boy who deals with everyday problems such as bullies, crushes and trying to figure out the area of a circle.

At the viewing, dozens of elementary and middle school-aged students lined the first two rows of seats. A few of the boys up front said, “I get to sit next to the director.” Parents and friends sat a little farther back, enjoying adult-style sippy cups filled with wine and beer. Kathy Rowe, who played Luke’s abusive owner, Violet, showed up with at least six or seven long packages of beef jerky.

“I figured everyone would bring flower bouquets,” she said, “so I brought a bouquet of Slim Jims.”

The cast and crew of “Finding Home” during a Q&A at the LPCA. From left, Zachery Webb (Ben), Lincoln Norfolk (director), Olivia Ferebee (Janette), Drew Donatello (Billy), Wyatt Wardlaw (Andy) and Morgan Smith (Lauren). (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Rowe also came prepared with a package of Kleenex tissues.

“Just in case anyone needs them by the end,” she said.

The lights dimmed, the movie started, and the crowd’s rowdiness calmed down. However, a certain energy from the audience stayed for the remainder of the film. Whenever a new character/local actor appeared on screen, cheers and applause would erupt, kind of like whenever Al Bundy would walk through the front door on “Married… with Children.”

According to the crowd’s reaction, Lincoln’s father, Matt, could possibly see an Oscar nod come February. After the main character tells his father that a boy named Billy is bullying him and his friends, Matt delivered the line, “Stay away from that Billy. He’s a bad kid,” and people went nuts.

One actor who had a good amount of screen time was Lincoln’s mother, Darcy.

Lincoln Norfolk poses with his father and mother, Matt and Darcy. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

“So I didn’t have a choice to be in the film,” she said, chuckling, “but I thoroughly enjoyed when I did get involved. Conveniently, they needed a mother, and of course, I’m home with this crew of kids. I would step in and help them as part of this project. Acting, I would say, is not my favorite thing, but I would help out anytime as needed.”

From the Galaga-style stock audio coming from an Xbox One to Ben’s burgeoning attraction toward a fellow classmate, this movie had charm to spare. By the time the credits rolled and a montage of Luke playing fetch set to new-age pop music began, the crowd was up in its feet, delivering a standing ovation.

“I’ve always liked to entertain people,” Lincoln said, “and I’ve always wanted to make something that was my own. I liked filming and photography, so, like, two years ago I picked up a camera and I made my YouTube channel. From there it just took off.”

Lincoln’s YouTube channel is appropriately named Lincoln Studios. There you can find the entirety of “Finding Home.” While he showcases his love of lacrosse, skiing and poking fun at President Donald Trump on his channel, Lincoln also has a fascination with horror.

“I do short horror films sometimes because when I’m with my friends it’s kind of easy,” he said. “You know, it’s a horror film, and it’s not like you have to go in-depth like a dramatic film. You can just do all that in a simple few minutes with a horror film.”

A few elements of horror even appeared in “Finding Home.” When Ben takes Luke for a walk in the woods one day, he starts to hear chilling noises and thinks someone is following. Nothing ever comes from it, but Lincoln said that is the point.

“I really like to have some mysterious parts to the movie,” he said, “so I decided to put that in there, and that way maybe I can use that for some new leads in the second one.” We won’t give any spoilers away, but an after-credits scene, a la Marvel, sets up for a sequel.

Lincoln said that he would like to someday go to film school and be a full-time filmmaker, something of which his parents approve. Matt said it keeps Lincoln from playing video games all day.

“He’s in front of the screen; he’s being creative,” Matt said. “He’s creating something, so I had no problem with him being in front of the computer screen when he’s doing this because it’s pretty impressive. I’ll say this: I didn’t see the movie until tonight. I saw snippets, so as time went on and it was getting closer to the premiere, Lincoln said, ‘Why don’t you just wait and watch it tonight?’ I was pretty proud of him. It was a good job, and all the actors in it did great.”

The viewing was succeeded by a Q&A panel with Lincoln, the child actors and even Luke the dog. One audience member asked, “What’s next?” Among making more feature-style films, Lincoln said he would love to make a documentary about bronze and silver medal Olympic alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht.

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