Director: Todd Graff
Screenwriters: Todd Graff

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


When the kids on the packed bus heading to the country are belting Sondheim tunes, you know Camp Ovation is different. It is a place where talented young people can get away from their everyday lives and be themselves without apologies.

Long summer days at Camp Ovation are ripe with life lessons, romance, fast friendships, jealousies, and a trunk full of backstage antics. As the summer kicks off, the campers eagerly await the arrival of the Broadway-legend-turned-washout Bert Hanley and also make the shocking discovery that there is an honest-to-goodness straight boy in the bunch.

Not since Fame has so much fresh talent found its way to the screen in one fell swoop. Amazing young triple-threats sing and dance their hearts out, breathing life into classic summer stock standards despite being 20 years or so out of their league. From their stories, writer/director Todd Graff cleverly molds a delightfully appealing film.

The title suggests a double meaning, but the campiness gives way to honest passion, youthful longing, and good fun. Yet Graff is careful not to miss the deeper message: Even outsiders need a place to fit in and grow up on their own terms.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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