Students make a feature length film
The red carpet was rolled out and the stars were dressed in their finest for the world premiere of "The Ghost Girl" Wednesday night at Auxvasse Elementary School.
Students from the After School program have worked since September to make the feature length film, acting and helping to edit film for the script written by art teacher and film director Jeremy Divers.
"This project actually started three years ago with the start of the After School Program," Divers said. "I taught a photography class and the kids became very interested in what they could accomplish with a camera. They wanted to make a movie."
In the second year of the program, Divers and the students made a short 15-minute film. The project was such a success that this year they set their sights higher, completing the 70 minute film which they showed to a packed room Wednesday night.
"This was a real labor of love that I spent a lot of my free time working on," Divers said. "We've really enjoyed making it and the kids put a lot of effort in. After last year we had a lot of interest in the Movie Making class and got a larger group. Everyone who signed up was committed and put a lot of work in. Nobody who signed up for the class dropped out."
The film follows the story of friends Alice (played by Allie Flynn), Chris (Christian Griffith) and Austin (Zeke Gilman) as they investigate the urban legend of a ghost named Carol (Bethany Spatafora) who haunt Auxvasse Elementary. The group must overcome difficulties such as school bully Zoey (Riley Foster) and angry teachers, as they work to help free Carol from the school and move on to a higher plane.
The script was inspired by a story Divers had once been told about the school being haunted.
"Although there were only five major roles in the story, every student in the class was able to get screen time in either a minor role or as an extra," Divers said. "We tried to match the personality of the students to those of the characters in the film."
Auxvasse Elementary School's After School Program serves 200 students in grades K-8 in the North Callaway R-1 School District. The Movie Making Class included 25 students between fourth and eighth grade.
The program and project were made possible by a Department of Education 21st Century Grant. The purpose of the grant is to support "the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children."