Magicians, young and old, perform tricks with cards, animals, scarves, and whatever else suits their fancy. Audiences enjoy the playfulness of their acts and sometimes are even moved to a spiritual state of wonder. This art seems to appeal especially to kids who love the challenge of figuring out how things are done. A passion for magic can help youth build their self-esteem as they are able to excel in something. Others become more outgoing and popular at school because they can entertain others. All of these appeals of magic are cited in Make Believe, a documentary directed by J. Clay Tweel that depicts the preparations of six talented young magicians to compete for the title of Teen World Champion.
Among these "stars of tomorrow" are Krystyn Lambert, a blonde from Malibu who is a member of the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood Hills; Bill Koch, a 19-year old who is confident that he can win before he is ineligible for teen competition; Hiroki Hara, a self-taught Japanese magician who practices eight hours a day; Derek McKee, a shy 14 year-old from Colorado who is totally committed to this art form and spends five hours every day in practice; and Siphiwe Fangase and Nkumbozo Nkonyana from South Africa who have added some creative new twists to their performance.
Make Believe uses the same dramatic elements which have appeared in other documentaries about dance and singing contests or spelling bees. Yet it is still delightful to watch the intensity these teenagers bring to the een World Championship in Las Vegas's World Magic Seminar. Several famous magicians are on hand to provide their expertise to the proceedings.