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Local writer builds video message board of gratitude

Lisa Mikitarian, of Woodstock, holds a paper airplane representing community-based shout-outs that recognize local people who make a difference to others in the area. Video segments will be shown Saturday at 1 p.m. at the community theater after “For the Love of June,” a 14-minute film based on a short story Mikitarian wrote. — Rich Cooley/Daily

By Josette Keelor -- jkeelor@nvdaily.com

What started as a film version of Woodstock writer Lisa Mikitarian's short story "For the Love of June," has turned into a communitywide invitation to thank those around the area who make a positive difference.

Her story, part of a book of short stories, called "Her Safari," is about helping others, she said.

When local filmmaker learned about her short story, Mikitarian said, the result was a 14-minute film, which will play at the Woodstock Community Theater at 1 p.m. Saturday. There is no charge to view the film.

Following the film will be a collection of what Mikitarian named "Paper Airplanes" -- a community message board in video. The spoken thank you letters are from more than 50 community members who recorded themselves holding actual paper airplanes and talking about those who have made a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.

"It's just nice to remember all the different people in our community," said Mikitarian.

"In conjunction with the short film," she said, "they go together really, really well."

After New Market filmmaker Phillip Wachter offered to film her short story, and Mikitarian secured Saturday as the run date, she realized that it might be difficult to entice community members to come out for so short a film. Thus sparked in her mind the idea of the video message board.

The film is of a professional quality, she said, so she thought "why not do something that's very raw, man on the street?" It was her daughter Maddie who suggested they call the effort Paper Airplanes.

"In one afternoon everything fell into place, very little effort on my part," Mikitarian said.
Mother and daughter also have partnered on a blog and currently are co-writing a novel. Mikitarian also blogs at www.lisamikitarian.com.

The film, which shares the name of Mikitarian's short story, stars members of the community as characters at a funeral home.

"In the film we've got Joe Wobbe [of Joe's Steakhouse in Woodstock] as the main character," Mikitarian said.

So far, the community has been learning about Paper Airplanes by word of mouth, though it's been conveyed mostly by paperless messages on Facebook. Mikitarian has over 50 video messages to show after the film on Saturday, and more keep coming in.

On a recent afternoon in downtown Woodstock, Mikitarian planned to meet a couple of friends in front of the movie theater to film them offering their own video messages for Saturday's show. One friend, Jane Byrd of Edinburg, came to thank another Edinburg resident, Laureen Pulizzi. Holding up a paper airplane, Byrd said, "You help me and many others to take flight."

Of Mikitarian, Byrd said, "She is a very creative, very thoughtful person."

Those who won't have a chance to record a video message before Saturday can still participate, Mikitarian said. Video Paper Airplanes recorded after the performance at the theater will be added to a YouTube presentation.

For more information about the short film "For the Love of June" or "Paper Airplanes," which will play at the Woodstock Community Theater at 1 p.m. Saturday, call Lisa Mikitarian at 335-5765 or email YouTube

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