PRESCOTT- Recent graduate from Prescott High School Gracie Roberts remembered a dilemma her group faced the night before the film script was due in their advanced drama class, nobody had completed the script yet. After staying up until 1am and completing the script in time for class the next day, the group created a project that won best high school film at the 2017 Prescott Film Festival.
“As soon as we got the first page done, all the ideas kept flowing and it just kept getting funnier and funnier and the lines just kept getting weirder,” Roberts said. “We were like ‘this is going to be a mess on screen’ then it ended up being really funny.”
Their film Friendly Fire, which told the story of the most epic game of BattleShip ever, was part of thirteen high school films shown at the festival.
High School filmmakers discuss their productions during the Prescott Film Festival on Sunday June 12th, 2017 in Prescott Arizona.
“It was really cool to get to see the film up on the screen and have everyone be laughing and enjoying it,” Roberts said. “It just made me really happy to know that something we were able to create was able to bring other people so much joy.”
Prescott Film Festival Founder/Executive Director and Yavapai College Director of the Film and Media Arts Program Helen Stephenson was glad to see high schools producing films as she says video experience can help them in a variety of different jobs.
“I think it’s great that we have high school instructors who are putting film into their curriculum because it’s a part of everyday life,” Stephenson said. “No matter what job these kids end up doing, there is some aspect of video that’s going to be somewhere in the peripheral of that.”
Along with the high school films, eight college films were showcased. Roberts-who is going to major in musical theatre in college-acted in two of the productions, which gave her insight to college filmmaking.
“It was kind of cool seeing the college atmosphere,” Roberts said. “It kind of prepared me more for what I’m going to expect in college if I do college film.”
Future high school filmmakers like Roberts will have an additional opportunity starting in the 2017-2018 school year. Stephenson mentioned the beginning of new dual enrollment courses between Prescott High School and Yavapai College, which will allow students to take Yavapai College film courses for only $30 instead of over $300.
More about the Prescott Film Festival